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Old 08.02.2012, 02:31
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Visiting sick colleagues in hospital

I received a message this evening that a close colleague is in hospital for an unknown duration. I just wanted to ask is it normal in Switzerland to visit ad hoc one evening or should I try and contact his wife first? And just to pre-empt any misunderstandings, no not that kind of closeness, that was related to our work areas.

Just want to check my natural response won't cause undue distress for anyone.

Many thanks
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Old 08.02.2012, 03:38
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Re: Visiting sick colleagues in hospital

I would try and visit him when his wife visits, then there would be no misunderstanding.

If you are the same sex, then yes it is fine to just drop by, but not too late. Some people in the west take bottles of red wine into hospital, just to cheer them up a bit! (But don't forget the corkscrew, or it could make him very unhappy!)
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Old 08.02.2012, 09:31
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Re: Visiting sick colleagues in hospital

I would contact the wife first and see if visits are wanted & what time is best. Some hospitals have visiting hours depending on the station the person is in. Plus maybe he isnt really feeling up to it to receive somebody from outside the family, best to check this first.
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Old 08.02.2012, 09:49
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Re: Visiting sick colleagues in hospital

I agree that you should contact him or his wife beforehand. Not because she might not want you to visit him if you're a "she" but because he might not yet be up for visitors especially if you don't know him that well. I have never heard of people bringing wine but maybe you could check if he has a possibility of watching dvds? I did when I was at the hospital so you could bring him a dvd as usually people in a hospital have a lot of time to spend Whatever you do I am sure your collegague will be very pleased that you make a visit!
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Old 08.02.2012, 11:29
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Re: Visiting sick colleagues in hospital

Many thanks for the replies, will contact his wife and see what she says, it may very well be that he isn't well enough for visitors in any case Just wasn't too sure if it would be considered a normal thing to do, isn't a situation I've come across since I moved here.
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Old 08.02.2012, 11:52
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Re: Visiting sick colleagues in hospital

Probably the norm here is that the work colleagues get together and pitch in for flowers, card, gift etc... Then perhaps the one closest to him/her contacts the family to see if visits are welcome or appropriate.
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Old 08.02.2012, 12:09
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Re: Visiting sick colleagues in hospital

Either call the wife or the colleague directly. If he's too sick to answer the phone, he's probably too sick to take visitors who aren't close family and friends.
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Old 09.02.2012, 00:04
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Re: Visiting sick colleagues in hospital

As someone whose been on the other side of the table... or perhaps I should say hospital bed...

I would actually say it depends on your precise work relationship with this person. If you are at the same level or below him, then as others have said check with his wife, find out an appropriate time, maybe ask her to ask him if he feels up to it... and then go.

On the other hand, if you are a superior, my advice would be send a gift, perhaps encourage someone else to go... but don't go because it might be construed as you 'checking up on him'. When you're ill you can feel vulnerable and you don't necessarily want someone whose in any way above you at work coming to see you.

Whatever you decide, I think organising something from your workplace is a great idea. Hospital food is terrible, so perhaps a favourite snack? But don't leave it too late... once I had flowers delivered in the 4th month of sick leave... 2 days after a former co worker had visited me and asked if I'd heard anything from work and I said 'No.' (and was clearly hurt). It would probably have been more tactful not to send anything because it was so obvious my friend had had a word with someone and said 'X seemed hurt that you haven't been in touch'.

I should say my stays have all been in psychiatric wards, so that may 'tint' my advice! And also for that reason I can't give you specific advice about visiting hours etc. because I would imagine that's rather different in a 'normal' hospital ward.
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Old 09.02.2012, 00:11
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Re: Visiting sick colleagues in hospital

I would check first - purely because he may be busy having tests or other visitors turning up at the same time! Like you said, I think it's "proper" to get "clearance" from his wife too, she could also advise what to bring, if anything and what the best time is.
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Old 09.02.2012, 21:23
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Re: Visiting sick colleagues in hospital

Thanks again for all the advice, is all sorted out now.

Has been interesting to see the different points of view, I used to be in a senior position in the UK and had a few of people I supervised in hospital over the years who I did go and visit but there was no element of checking up (from their perspective also), was just to pop in and say hi, tell them some of the funny happenings they'd missed and take in some necessaries in for them, especially for one who was a bit of a loner and didn't have family near.

I did work in a very social environment then though so that probably made a difference, can see that might be very different in a more corporate environment.
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