What Can I Do? 10 Tips for Helping a Friend Who's Sick

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Recognize the Power of Touch

Don't shy away from physical contact with a friend who's in the hospital. Most illnesses and injuries are not contagious. Touches and hugs are one of the most healing things one person can do for another. Overlook the tubes and machines your friend may be hooked up to and just focus on her as an individual.

I remember visiting Jose, a young marine who was in the hospital in Bethesda. Since Jose's arms and wrists were still raw with wounds and crisscrossed with tubes, I focused on his feet. I rubbed them as I talked to him, wanting just to give him that basic physical human contact. Jose's mother and sister said that they could see him relax instantly because someone was treating him like a person and not like a patient. Such simple acts can go a long way toward restoring a patient's dignity.

Continued on page 4:  Listen -- and Follow Her Lead


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