Many people like to take a gift when visiting a sick friend or loved one in the hospital. However, the right gift can be difficult to find. To make things more difficult, some of the most common gifts given to hospitalized people are not always allowed in every area of the hospital.
Keep in mind that hospitals can be very boring places, and they are never as comfortable as one’s own home. Gifts that help improve comfort and relieve boredom are ideal, as are gifts that lift the mood.
Traditional Gifts May Not Be Appropriate
There are some items that are restricted in certain areas of the hospital or for patients due to their conditions.
Just be sure the patient to whom you are giving a present is allowed to eat fruit, otherwise, it is like teasing them with something they are not permitted to have.
If your friend is in an intensive care area of the hospital or if they are in an area where patients are having cancer treatment, flowers may not be appropriate. The same is true for floors where respiratory problems are present, or a patient has an allergy. Flowers will likely not be permitted in the room in an ICU. A balloon (or two) makes a great substitute for flowers.
Gifts of Entertainment
It can be difficult to pass the time in a hospital. Coming up with creative ways to help your friend pass the time may be the most valuable gift you can give. Magazines, for example, are a great gift because the articles tend to be short. That way if your friend tires easily, they can set the magazine aside and return to it later.
Music can be very calming and soothing. Your friend may have an MP3 player that they use for their music, or they may appreciate having some of their favorite CDs brought to the hospital with a small radio that can be played quietly. Many hospitals anticipate the need for entertainment and supply DVD players and televisions in the patient rooms. If the room is equipped in this way, bringing a few movies from home or the library would be a welcome diversion. If your friend has a laptop, they are often able to play movies as well.
- Books: If you know what your friend likes to read, a book makes a great gift and can help take their mind off of the illness. Reading materials, including magazines, can make long and tedious tests more bearable and sleepless nights may pass more quickly.
- Music: Headphones make it possible to enjoy music without disturbing roommates or other patients in the area.
- Movies: Lighthearted comedies are often a welcome relief from the serious nature of a hospital stay.
- Games: Card games, board games, crossword puzzles and other types of games are a quiet way to pass time.
Gifts of Comfort
Hospitals are not known for their comfort. Scratchy sheets, cold drafts, and bland food are just a few of the reasons that hospitals are less than comfortable. Making a hospital room a little more comfortable for your friend is a great goal for any gift you might give.
A blanket does more than provide comfort, it can cheer up a room instantly. Not only are hospital linens stark white, but they are also often rough and scratchy, making a warm and comfortable blanket a cheery addition.
Gifts of Cheer
- Get Well Card: A get well card is a great way to share your wishes for a quick recovery without breaking the bank. Don’t feel obligated to buy a gift in order to visit a friend in the hospital, a card is perfectly appropriate with or without a present.
- Balloons: If you aren’t sure what to give, a get well balloon is a great gift when you aren’t sure what the patient might want or what they are allowed to have in their room.
Gifts of Service
Your gift may not cost you a dime, only time and energy. For someone in the hospital, having someone willing to run an important errand or two may be the most valuable gift they receive. For example, they may need to have prescriptions filled prior to their discharge from the hospital.
Gifts of Information
Your friend may need information about their condition, especially if they are newly diagnosed with an illness. For example, if your loved one was just diagnosed with diabetes, a book about living with diabetes may be useful. If your friend just delivered her first baby, she may appreciate a book for new moms.