8 Best Ways to Support a Friend in the Hospital

You’ve just found out a family member or friend is in the hospital, and you want to show you’re thinking about them. What would help the most? A thoughtful card? Or maybe something to help them pass the time?

We asked CaringBridge families – the true experts – how to support a loved one in the hospital. In this article, we will pass along their advice.

How to Support a Friend in the Hospital

1. Virtual Visit

While many people appreciate visits, it’s not always possible due to COVID-19. Call or text ahead to find out if your friend is up for a virtual visit, and then ask which video call service (like Skype, Google Duo or FaceTime) they are able to use.

“In the local hospital [our daughter] had lots of visits, but after she was moved (about an hour away) she didn’t get as many visits – the visits were great for her (wish she had more), but even better for us because we got to take a little break. We did end up doing some FaceTime and Skype with a few people for her and that was great as well.”


2. Help Out Without Being Asked

When it comes to taking care of things back at the house, don’t wait for your loved one to ask for help – they have so much on their mind. Just take care of the yard work and whatever needs doing.

“Please don’t say this, ‘If you need something please let me know!’ Instead, bring food to the house, mow their yard, purchase a gas card, send cards, and visit when you can. DO something helpful.”


“They did things for our family without asking. They made sure our pets and yard were cared for, they made us meals, and they were there.”


3. Give a Goodie Bag & Small Gifts

The most common advice: Give a small get well soon gift or care package to keep someone with a lot of time on their hands entertained. You can see if they forgot to pack anything before they went to the hospital – that would make a helpful gift, as well.

“Give them a goodie bag with things to occupy them…magazines, puzzles, decks of cards, writing and drawing pads, stamps, an iPad, lots of books.”


“An occasional flower (no need for a bouquet), a magazine, a cute picture. Small gestures of love.”


“Make a personal greeting card keeper: This gives them a place to keep the many thoughtful well wishing greeting cards they receive. It also keeps the cards handy to open the box and re-read when feeling alone or sad.”


Financial gifts can be just as meaningful to a friend in need:

“Because our family member was in the hospital in a city far from where we lived, we have numerous expenses for travel, staying in a hotel, eating meals out, that really took a financial toll. I would encourage friends to consider putting together financial donations to help families cope with unexpected expenses. When our family member’s employer did that for us, it helped far more than people sending little gifts that weren’t really useful, etc. Everyone wanted to help and did what they could see to do, but financial help was by far the most like a lifeline for us.”


Related: 13 Helpful Things to Bring Someone in the Hospital | CaringBridge

4. Bring Reminders of Home

Little pieces of home are a way to personalize a hospital room. Their regular pillow, favorite coffee mug, photos, or the local paper can make the new environment feel more comfortable and help to cheer them up.

“Bring your own pillow and pillow case and a comfy blanket.”


“The thing that helped me the most wasn’t a person. It was a red decorative pillow. It smelled of home and helped keep the homesickness at bay.”


5. Feed Them

meals for caregivers

A home-cooked meal in the hospital can be rare, so it’s extra-appreciated. Or, make their day by bringing them their favorite dish from a local spot. For family of the patient, gift cards to local restaurants give them a change from the hospital cafeteria.

“To show support: I think bringing the parents of children in the hospital a nice home-cooked meal. There’s only so much fast food one wants to eat plus it gets expensive.”


“Bring food to the house, that is the greatest gift.”


“All our hospital stays included a plastic box that could fit under the bed filled with favorite snacks and drinks, bottled water, your own mug for the tea.”


6. Send Notes and Well Wishes

Whether it’s a get well card or a message on a CaringBridge website, encouraging words can go a long way to boosting someone’s spirits. These notes can be a memento that your loved one can look back on and feel the love.

Lift your loved one’s spirits by collecting messages of love and inspiration from their community and compiling them into a Get Well video. VidDay is a service that helps you create a heartfelt group video as a unique and special gesture of support. It’s free to create a Get Well video and they make it easy to invite, collect, and share the video with your loved one.

“Just staying in touch was so needed… knowing we weren’t forgotten. Never underestimate how important a note or a text message is. They are vital.”


“As an adult, cards were the most appreciated.”


7. Start a CaringBridge Page

A no-cost CaringBridge online health journal allows you to update everyone at once, so all your loved ones are on the same page. Family and friends can comment their support on your Journal entries, and our on-site Planner helps you coordinate needs like bringing meals, rides to doctor appointments, and even taking care of pets.

“First thing would be to sign up for CaringBridge and let everyone know how to get to your page. I was hospitalized in a city far away from my friends and family so in person visits were rare. The joy of the comforting and encouraging words were a tremendous help. It creates a community of people who are caring about you and that is an awesome feeling.”


Don’t go through your health journey alone.

You can stay connected to friends and family, plan and coordinate meals, and experience love from any distance.

All of this is ready for you when you start your personal CaringBridge site, which is completely no-cost, ad-free, private and secure. Don’t spend another minute alone!

8. Start a Fundraiser for Your Friend

Medical bills are expensive and can add financial stress to an already emotionally difficult situation. But an online fundraiser can offer some financial relief. You can even start a GoFundMe campaign through your CaringBridge page.

Messages to a Friend in the Hospital

Showing up with actions is a great way to offer support, but sometimes helping is as simple as sharing a few kind words. If you can’t talk in person due to visitor restrictions or other reasons, you can still stay connected with a phone call, text, or video chat.

Here are a few things to say when someone you know is in the hospital:

  • “You’re in my thoughts every day, I love you.”
  • “You’re so strong, you’ve got this.”
  • “I pray that you feel better.”
  • “Nothing can stop you – get well soon!”
  • “Sending healing energy your way.”
  • “Wishing you a very speedy recovery!”
  • “How are you feeling? How can I help?”

In general, there are a couple common statements to avoid when discussing someone’s health: comments like “everything happens for a reason” and “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” can minimize and dismiss a person’s pain.

Instead, the focus should always be on positive messages that validate what your loved one is going through.

What Would You Add?

How do you express your support when someone you care about is in the hospital? If you’ve had a long hospital stay, what did others do that meant the most? Share your tips below!

  • Marilyn

    Often when someone is in a hospital they can’t think of what needs doing. OFFER to walk the dog, cook a meal trim the lawn etc. Name what you can do for them.

  • Linda K

    Be careful with flowers! My husband wasn’t allowed to have them due to his immunosuppression. A cute Beany Baby or the like might be better.

  • Anna Pankovčinová

    Prosím ktokoľvek číta tieto riadky prosím pomôžte mi dostať sa k lekárovi ktorý by mi pomohol aspoň zmierniť dožívanie v bolesti / niekto mi veľmi veľmi ublížil / zmrzačil ma a vyrezal mi všetko to čo je dole FGM ( totale weibliche Beschneidung ) všetko ma ukrutne bolí , neviem sa dostať k pomoci , v mojej krajine neoperujú nerekonštruujú takto zmrzačené ženy , a ja dožívam v ukrutných bolestiach , prosím – S.O.S – Ich bin verkrüppelt – noch ohne ärztliche Hilfe

    Mám ukrutné bolesti , aj v celom podbrušku všade , bolesť ide do celej panvovej kosti do nôh všade , je mi zle mám strach a bojím sa že sa pomoci nikdy nedožijem , prosím pomôžte mi dostať sa k lekárovi prosím FGM ( Female genital mutilation )

    Anka FGM ( Ostslowakei ) Humenné

  • Robin Bryan

    You look too handsome/ beautiful to be in the hospital!

  • Mrinmoi Chakraborty

    I need your help and support for my treatment please help me

  • Apex Hospitals

    This blog is really very informative for those who want to support a Friend in the Hospital. For quality care, you can consider Apex Hospital which is known as Best Hospital in Mansarovar aiming to deliver top-quality and individual-focused Healthcare services. Apex Hospitals are super-specialty hospitals across Rajasthan aiming to deliver top-quality and individual-focused Healthcare services. With a team of experienced doctors and trained staff, advanced medical technology, and state-of-the-art infrastructure, Apex Hospitals provide holistic healthcare services.

  • Priscilla Valles

    My elderly neighbor and friend was picked up by parametics gasping for air. I had no idea and I don’t know if he has family
    he vets no visitors at home. I am going to visit him. Is there anything I can do for him? Power of attorney? Feed the cats? Clean his house? All of the above, anything else

  • L.A.T.

    I have had a lot of friends drop me while I’ve been in the hospital for major surgery and I was there for them when they went through major surgery last year. That only exacerbates my pain and healing process.

  • Diane Black

    For those that need to travel a distance when a loved one is in the hospital we found that gift cards for gas and restaurants near by were a true blessing. As the hospital stay was at the height of the virus, food choices at the hospital were very limited and at the time only one person was allowed to visit. Knowing I needed to keep my strength up as the care giver the gift cards were so much appreciated!

  • Deborah

    Take care of pets. Dog walking or trips to the vet. Buying pet food. Pet sit.

  • Abed

    Call them n remind them that they are still loved.

  • Angie

    I appreciated my sister-in-law coming and meeting me for lunch in the hospital cafeteria. After Covid restrictions eased a bit, I still didn’t want to leave the hospital, but also didn’t want to eat alone. Sure, it wasn’t fancy but it was just what I needed and wanted!

  • Sister Ann Pennington, SFCC, D. Min.

    Speaking from my professional background as a hospice, hospital and long term care chaplain, I would avoid saying “Get well soon” to someone with a chronic or terminal illness, And I would get information concerning the patient’s dietary restrictions before sending a meal to the hospital.

  • Jes

    An iPod Shuffle with its fat clip is wonderful for a recovery stay – hospital, convalescent, rehab. Load it with their favorite tunes, bands, artists. It will clip right on a hospital gown. Less likely to break or walk or walk off. Don’t forget earbuds.

  • Merlene

    The biggest gift is prayer. Pray for the ill person and for their family.

  • CBLM Holy Family Hospital

    CBLM Holy Family Hospital is an exceptional medical facility unit that is committed to serving high-quality and cost-effective healthcare services. It is strongly driven by international standards and protocols and uplifted by a strong network of renowned professionals. With the aim to paneling the finest medical personnel, CBLM Holy proudly boasts its panel of medical experts having momentous credentials and privileges to their names. The specialties of the hospital are Cosmetic surgery, Laparoscopic surgery, Hair transplant General surgery, OBS and GYNAE, and Anorectal Surgery, Prostate Surgery, Gallbladder surgery, and Kidney stone surgery among others. The Hospital does not leave unexplored aspects when it comes to the provision of high-quality healthcare services and patient’s safety. With the commitment to deliver continuous patient care and exceptional treatment for a common illness, the hospital has implemented world-class technology and adopted global best practices.

  • Cornelia Mitchell

    I would like to donate 25 photos of my pet to hospital for patients to help them feel better. Pictures will be placed in a frame.(DOG PICTURE WITH 2 ❤️‘S that says: I LOVE YOU & GOD. BLESS YOU.

  • Erin Mills

    Fix broken relationship, get your marriage fixed by contacting ((Robinsonbuckler11@)) g m ail com”………………….Aw ^^ ********.Glad to share

  • M.H.

    We all got good days and bad days. That is why when we have good day, we don’t “spend” it in one day. We let it spread in more than one day. However, if we have a bad da, we consume it in one day to be able to start a god day.

  • Daniel Oconnell

    If my girlfriend had a seizure and it was just me and her by ourselves and I would go to the hospital with her and be by her side and I would call her mom to let her know

  • Paramjeet

    Please ,Help me my best in hospital and abhi Kuch din phle usne baby ko janam Diya ,aur achanak uski MAA ki tabiyat khrab ho gai , so any one can help her tonight please please

  • Mavis Bradley

    I was in the hospital for 3 months. A friend who said I was more than a friend that I am family. but she didn’t come to see me. if I was like family, or her sister Pat she certainly would have come to see me. So i sent her a text and asked her why. She said she had to process it. Shecalled me yesterday but I didn’t get to the phone in time, so I called back within a minute and got her voice mail. Now she thinks I’ve dropped the subject but not in my mind. It really hurt my feelings and it certainly hurt our friendship. She lives out of state but when she was drinking I went to her place and took her to her first AA meeting. It’s where she met her husband. Now she has 2 homes, one in Raleigh and one in the mountains by Asheville NC. I still want to know why. If I ask her again she will be upset. The first time she said she had to process it. Since she lives out of town I know I will never see her again. She only likes to text. She calls me when she’s in her car or if I humble myself and ask her to call me. I still want to know why.


    I do not have the money to support my friendActually she is my girlfriend and her mother is in the hospital. Her mother is suffering from a mental illness. what I will do in pandemic Coronavirus Lockdown time and how can I handle the situation.

  • david t

    ask them about how they feel

  • kimmy

    just pray for anyone that is sick and wish to God that they will be alright and healthy.

  • kimmy

    pray for them

  • Afsar khan

    Help me my mom in hospital

  • Afsar khan

    My mom is vasavi hospital
    Icu critical condition last 5 day admit bill is very expensefmoney problem pls help me

  • Kathleen Maurstad

    Offer to to a household chore i.e. run a load of laundry, mop the floors, change the beds, clean a bathroom etc.

  • Norman J. Betts

    So many friends have offered to take me to the hospital to see my husband, as it’s a distance & I’m elderly. I’ve given them money for gas or taken then to lunch but, is there something else you could suggest?

  • Sony

    Is it in good taste when a friend was telling a surgical mistake jokes to my friends while I am waiting for my own surgery? How should I handle this situation?

  • Kate

    Such wonderful ideas. Thank you for sharing

  • Terry acha

    Do you all have service to help someone to the hospital for surgery and bring them back home couple days later please help me find that service im 59 brain surgery seizures im with home health care right now but the lady is fixing to leave job

  • A loving Mom

    My daughter, who’s a great teacher & friend got WAY too many visitors the day of & especially the day after her surgeries, so she never got enough rest. A 3rd or 4th day visit would have been much better. Plus, by that time she was more fully awake & wondering where everyone was. Cards & small gifts & small plants are much easier to take home from the hospital than large bouquets that won’t last (but are so beautiful ).

    I had to smile at the suggestion above regarding not asking about helpful things like mowing or bringing food, she really couldn’t make those decisions & it was much appreciated when people just did them.

  • Carter Bannerman

    It seems such a short ride from your last semester at Duke, a trip from Durham to Cambridge to see John in my Bug, the unannounced visits to Rye with 2 other sailors headed back the ship in Newport o make demands on your ears, piano and beer. Only months have passed, I am sure, since your visit to Bainbridge Island, with Elisabeth. I think of your kindness, good sense and irrepressable sense of fun always, at every dot on the timeline. How much richer my life has been because for the knowin’ o’ you. Love and peace surround you, my old friend.

  • Joanna Wilson

    What great words that has been said,
    I mean giving sick kids presents and some love even though we are not familiar with some kids, its just AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Margaret Hill

    I just got out of the hospital with left knee replacement ! I was very sick the whole time I was in the hospital and that floor closes on Friday so they send you home no matter ! I did come to my brothers because I live alone in a town over ! I was still sick first two days ! Next week I think I should be able to go home but I can’t cook for myself or feed my little yorkie ! So we will see I only have the help of my brother and he works but took a week off to help me ! I have no one ! Sad but true ! So please tell me if there is a group that could help me with meals and feeding my Noah ? Thank you God bless

  • Kay Lowe

    I am so sorry that I screwed up my first post. I just wanted you to know that I’m praying for your complete and total healing. May the peace and love of God be with you tomorrow and all through your recovery. Prayers also for your family, that they too may know and feel the peace and love of the Lord. Blessings

  • Judith A. Huck

    Always willing to help out someone who is unable to do on their own. If I’m running errands it’s always nice to pick up much needed groceries or whatever needs may be. I sincerely mean I am there for you

  • Sapna Ravka

    This was wonderful statements

  • Kathy Johnson

    Very helpful listing, I like the quotes. The concept for your site is amazing!

  • Angela

    Sitting with a family member at the hospital is helpful — just to be there for them shows you care and helps them as they care for their ill family member.

  • Carole Ann Brumbles

    Hi Kaye, I miss our visits at the garage. Love you.

  • Lili Toutounas

    Dear Anya-
    My father and I think of you and pray for you every day. We ask that God will give you the strength to fully recover from your ordeal and to restore you to good health.
    We give you our love
    Lili and Demetrius

  • LuAnn Hultgren

    When we were at the hospital many months, I would’ve appreciated people bringing food there for us. They were so kind to bring it to our home, but we were 90 miles away. People would accompany us to the cafeteria, if we had a chance to get away, but that’s all we ate! The Ronald McDonald House was wonderful in groups making meals and one could take them in to go boxes.

  • Maya

    You could also pay a visit and come with a small present.

  • Maya

    Thats great! Those are great ideas

  • Sarah

    Here’s an idea I would never have thought of before our family was affected. Because our family member was in the hospital in a city far from where we lived, we have numerous expenses for travel, staying in a hotel, eating meals out, that really took a financial toll. I would encourage friends to consider putting together financial donations to help families cope with unexpected expenses. When our family member’s employer did that for us, it helped far more than people sending little gifts that weren’t really useful, etc. Everyone wanted to help and did what they could see to do, but financial help was by far the most like a lifeline for us.

  • Gloria Olson

    I now have two on your site that I am following. Some time ago I made a donation to the site in honor of the person. My question, is it your practice to notify the family of this donation?

  • Michelle Van Engen

    Hi Cheryl,
    Please contact our Customer Care team for help.


  • Pat

    Spouses or care givers that are traveling long distance from home to visit their loved one at a hospital appreciated gas cards.

  • Cheryl

    Trying to leave a post for my friend I keep on trying no results!

  • Cheryl

    Hello Thank you for bringing me in to your site. I have a lungbuddy in the hospital, in fact she was one of the first person at Duke Hospital,clinic / rehab.we worked out together with many Friends. I just needed to say to her I. Praying for you everyday you are strong woman ! Keep your chin up High!
    Love you Hugs And
    Always Smiles & Laughter

  • Mimi

    After a week in the hospital, a friend arrived to wash and blowdry my hair, gave me a manicure, pedicare and foot rub and it was heaven. She then left me the cute new manicure set as a gift.

  • Sureshchandra

    Excellent.Unique and ideal way.Thanks.

  • Kathy

    If you are a parent of a sick child. As I was in 2007 to 2009. It would have been so great to have family there to sit with her for a bit so I could have a break from the hospital for a few hours, or maybe a night to sleep in my own bed. Seen my boys. So if you could offer that to someone.

  • Caren Holliday

    Make a personal greeting card keeper: I take a shoe box, cover w/white (or any solid color) wrapping paper, use peel’n stick letters from a sheet purchased at Hobby Lobby or Michael’s, put their name on the front of the wrapping paper covered box w/the letters, secure a bow to the top & glue colorful flowers, animals, etc from used greeting cards all over the outside of the wrapping paper covered box. Usually I pick a theme, all birds, all flowers, all animals, etc depending on the person. This gives them a place to keep the many thoughtful well wishing greeting cards they receive. It also keeps the cards handy to open the box & RE-read when feeling alone & sad.

  • Deb

    When my husband ill people brought pizza and gift cards for pizza. In their minds pizza was an easy meal. We could do pizza easy. It was the home cooked meals we missed and didn’t have access to.

  • Rose lister

    Pray for them and there family in a very hard time and if it is you going throw this do not be a fradde to tell a friend on how they can help you out

  • athina alexandridou

    i usually say a lot of funny thinks that make them laugh, and i laugh myself, like we are not in the hospital, like we are out for coffe or a snack, ( i have those things with me also many times).
    i don’t focus on their difficult position i focus on what we are going to do when we are out together, what film we are going to see at the cinema, what kind of food we are going to eat in the restaurant we are planning to go and things like that, so i feel and let them feel also, like everything are done, everything is ok and the life goes on…..better and better, when we are doing things out together, out of the hospital i always ask what they liked most so we can help others in the same position next time that it will be needed.

  • Patti M.

    Since we had to move from the East to the West Coast for a life saving heart transplant. I would have to say FaceTIme (with my kids, family and friends), cards, phone calls, little gifts (lifted my spirits) and Caring Bridge were my life lines. It is not just the hospital stays but I feel as though you have so many people rallying around you and when you continue to recover you still need love, support and calls as you continue healing.

  • Joan Eads

    Pray also let other Christians know and have their church members pray. Keep them in formed.

  • Your cousin, Peggy

    My heart aches thinking of the road ahead of you. However, after reading the comments from your friends and other family members, you have grown into a strong woman and have wonderful support that will guide you through this. I can’t help but remember you as a little baby, a toddler and then a little girl. I would always pretend that you were my child when I babysat you. Your grandparents and your mom and dad were great about letting me come visit as I was only a child myself. I’m sure I had to get on their nerves but they were all so kind to me. Its funny how the time has gone by for both of us. Please know that all of your Charleston family is praying for you, Michael and your boys. Love and hugs to you all.

  • Jane

    above all let the one in the hospital or at home and their families know you are praying and thinking of them. We have gone through different situations and not many seem to take the time to call or send a card.

  • Dave Crosier

    Our son Jon has been in the hospital for 35 days now and Mom & Dad have gone 34 day to see him. And gas,easy pass has help but main thing is our son Jon. His age is 29 birthday is the 30 of this month its got be special for him he is alive and doing better than the early days we pray that he gets home soon a least a break. We know there will be other times coming not sure when.

  • J Brown

    I always thought having visitors in the hospital was a good thing. The last time I was in the hospital I had so many visitors and I was too sick to even talk. My hair and body were a mess and on top of feeling sick I was embarrassed by my appearance. The tips above are great and now I know what to do when someone I know goes into the hospital.

  • Joann Dettmann

    Read a book together.
    Bring photos to share.
    Ask about tape player and what kind of music.
    Pray if appropriate.
    Ask questions like can you tell me how yor feeling today?

  • Lynn Abare

    Before visiting, stop by their home and take pics of the kids or their pets. It will always bring a smile. If you have helped around the house, take a pic of the final result so the patient doesn’t feel left out of the process.— And let them have some input from the hospital bed, rehab or even from the bedroom. No matter how close you are, you are still stepping into someone else’s life. I went to Tennessee this winter to clean my elderly friend’s home for her. She now lives near me in Alaska and she hasn’t been been able to get it ready to rent, sell or move back into. When I finished I took pics of every cabinet (with the doors open) the closets and every room and we went over all the details when I got home. And when she was able to get there this month, she already knew what it looked like. She didn’t feel like a stranger walking into her own home. I was able to clean out and arrange a friend’s tool box in his garage by pics. He had had a brain stem stroke and I was his caretaker. He is very detail oriented and was able to keep control if his tools because of the pics.

  • Pam Weinberg

    Excellent ideas from everyone! I have been hospitalized more than I would like to remember, however, during my long stays I always made sure I had my favorite music and earbuds/earphones. It not only helps to close your eyes and listen to music, but it also drowns out the continual “noise” of a hospital. It often helped me to fall asleep as well.

  • Brett Dorsch

    Thinking about you and praying for you. Miss you brother

  • Sandra Danielson

    Having been hospitalized for several months, I would add: a soft throw, pillows from home, shower wash with a sponge and body lotion, comfy and fun slippers, towels from home, antiseptic wipes, nail clippers, a stuffed animal to snuggle, soft Kleenex.

  • Deb J

    When my husband was going through cancer treatments and also spent some time in the hospital for surgeries, homemade dinner kits and hot dishes were a welcome sight for me to help quickly feed my kids when I got home. Also, gas cards were so welcome, as we traveled 1 1/2 hours to the hospital for each chemo & radiation treatment. We had an 88yr old relative mow our lawn a few times because he knew it was one of the few ways he could help. So nice of him. My husband appreciated cards and phone calls the most, since his diet was watched pretty closely. Visits were nice, too.

  • Joanna

    Adult colouring books with coloured pencils they are wonderful and help the soul feel peaceful & rested

  • Anita Jones

    I like to take a bag of wrapped candy to give to the nurses

  • Bonnie

    I purchased a large container of Jelly Beans and attached a note for those who visited our friend in a coma to help themselves….knowing that she would be grateful. The nurses and doctors loved to check in on her!

  • Sue carnes

    Offer to sit with the patient, and let family have some time to relax and also get some needed things done!

  • Kim Wagley

    Hospitals are dry, so lotions and lip balms are a great gift. For a patient who suddenly has very few choices they are allowed to make, an assortment of lip balm flavors gives them something over which they have control. Also, if the hospital is a teaching hospital, many people in white coats will be coming in and asking the same questions. When my son was going in and out of the hospital almost monthly for 2 years, I had a typed document that answered the most common questions so that I could focus on him, not on the intern or resident learning to take a history. I always answered questions that were not on the document, but I respectfully asked them to read that first. I also had a pad of paper and a pen on the table in the room and respectfully asked everyone in a white coat to sign in, giving me name and specialty, and end their visit with a comment as to major finding because we saw so many white coats each day that it was confusing. I often did not know every name and when someone would ask me “was so and so in to see him yet?” I could refer them to the pad. It also made it easier for me to stay accurately up to date by reading it over myself. I helped other moms make these for their children and it provided some relief during stressful stays.

  • Linda

    All of the previous suggestions are great. If someone is needed to stay with the patient while in the hospital, offer to stay for a few hours with the patient. Once home if the patient is still incapacitated, be willing to stay for a few hours so that the caregiver is able to get out for a little while. Also, use social media and email to keep family and friends updated on the progress of the patient. Ask them to pray and be specific. Their feedback also keeps the caregiver(s) uplifted.

  • Jean Turner

    These are all very helpful and thoughtful ideas.

  • Kelly Solomon

    This is a great list! My friends have texted me & my Mom & son have been here a few times to visit. I came in Monday & am going home later this afternoon!!

  • Pat

    Be very careful about bringing food. For example, even bringing food for caregivers of patients who will now be tube-fed can be kind of hurtful to the patient who is learning to accept that they may never eat normal food again. Some patients may not have fruit or fresh vegetables due to compromised immune systems. For these types of patients, the other types of gifts like parking passes, games, thank-you cards, etc. are wonderful! My favorite was neighbors who mowed my lawn and made sure my driveway was always plowed while my husband was dying. It as the day-to day stuff that was hard to maintain.

  • Lizzy

    The closer you are, the more you know a patient’s special needs & likes. Hospital gifts often provide an opportunity to give a gift from a group of friends. You can organize, & gather funds to buy that special gift your friend loves but would never splurge on for themselves. Someone organized a beautiful picture quilt for a relative practically overnight. My sister’s remembered the French, triple-milled soap I adore that smells of pears.❤
    As someone who’s spent a lot of time in-hosp; a large, labeled, brightly colored toolbox with medications, dressings, doctors orders, etc.or anything else I’m expected to take home & use is such a tedious job no one seems to think of it. It’s my favorite gift & always well received.

    Or help your friend put together a medical history & physical.
    1. Name, date of birth, phone number & address.
    2. Every medication they take, how much, & how often, what for & who prescribed it.
    3. Every medication they are allergic to & what the reaction is (hives, wheezing, shock, etc.
    3. Every surgery, broken bone, or serious injury in their life & the date plus any complications.
    4. Their doctor’s names, phones & addresses.
    5. Print at least 3 copies; 1 for their home files 1 for their wallet & one to take to office visits.
    Taking a patient’s History & Physical used to take up a large part of my day until I put together a one page document for patient’s to keep that included every detail. When we’re tired or hurt, it is difficult to remember details, especially as we age & details accumulate. You might even spend a charmed visit learning something you never knew about your friend at a time that information really helps them.

  • N Anderson

    Each of the grandkids(4) brought a little beanie type stuffed animal to keep Grandma company .

  • Colin and Kathryn Taylor

    Ask tbem if they would like you to pray with them and for them.

  • Maryjo Flamm-Miller

    #1 Make a music tape of cheerful tunes. Music will help the sick person relax and heal faster.
    #2 Pay for a massage for the caregiver.
    #3 Ask people to listen to messages recorded on your home phone for updates. That way the caregiver doesn’t have to call people back and tell the same news over and over again. Caregivers are tired at the end of the day. Making phone calls is the last thing they want to do.
    #4 Do their laundry and clean their bathrooms.

  • Kettly Bellevue

    For me a visit is always the best but I know is not always possible. Some home cook meals.
    A text from a friend always good too if visit is not possible.

  • Carol

    Be a good ” listening” ear…nonjudgmental, …of course that person would have earned friendship before, but to be there…is so important when a sick one needs an ear…if you say it, mean it, …the caller friend should call and say” just checking in”. And then, the sick patient will call when they need your ” listening ear”. Means a lot! Also, if a person
    had cancer, please know that after a person may be lucky enough to be
    a survivor..to keep in the back of your mind that that life altering cancer, may have caused changes that continue to be treated, and that may include heavy medication or life changes that will be with the person forever. It wasn’t really a here today, gone tomorrow disease…pain, digestive issues, dietary changes, fear, anxiety..etc. , all may continue lifelong, so please be helpful in understanding that, and treat the person sensitively. Thank you.

  • Carol

    Be a good ” listening” ear…nonjudgmental, …of course that person would have earned friendship before, but to be there…is so important when a sick one needs an ear…if you say it, mean it, …the caller friend and call and say” just checking in”. But the sick patient will call when they need your ” listening ear”. Means a lot!

  • Veronica Curtis-Richie

    Offer to take the sick persons personal items home to wash and return.
    Offer to take children to their afterschool activities such as ballet, art, ball practice, etc.
    Offer to help out another family that depended on the sick person for groceries, Drs. appt. etc.

  • Veronica Curtis-Richie

    Offer to take the kids on their regular afterschool Activities, Ball practice, Ballet, Art Class, etc.
    Offer to take home their personal items to wash and return.
    Offer to take family members who don’t drive to the hospital for a visit.
    Offer support to other family members that depended on the sick person for errands to doctor, grocery, prepare a meal, etc.

  • Denise T.

    Very important to avoid lengthy visits or too many visitors as often this is very tiring for the patient. Be attentive to the time when visiting so that you do not tire the patient

  • Edye

    If a pet is allowed in the hospital make sure they’re up to date on shots and take them for a visit..

  • gini

    So appreciate your sharing your recommendations of patient support. Please continue to offer suggestions that will help convalescing persons recover more easily and more quickly.
    Also bringing treat(s)to the nursing and assistants can make a hospital stay more pleasant and monitored for the patient and the staff.

  • Brian Gamley

    I have spent considerable time in hospital for removal of part of lung and SCT. I hated asking and never did, but we found parking excessively priced. When a friend had the same SCT we purchased a parking pass for them 1 week at a time. This was a great relief for them in not only finances but time. With the pass you just input the card and slide in/out. No limit as per time.

  • Mary

    Visits from family and friends, cards, flowers, basket of goodies, phone calls, text messages, prayers, all these things helped with healing. And having wonderful nurses, CNAs and PTs all played a big part in my healing.

  • Amiee Coffey

    When in hospital I really emjoyed Thank you notes, pens and stamps and writing paper to keep track of gifts I received, etc.

  • Elaine

    Little wrapped gifts with a date to open them is nice for children in the hospital.

  • Susan W

    Helping without being asked is great, as long as you make certain that you don’t overstep. “Your house was a mess the last time I was there, so if you’ll give me your keys I’ll go and clean it” is not what you want to hear when you’re already stressing about your child in the hospital.

  • Debbie

    My girlfriend came & braided my hair… I had tried to teach my husband but he couldn’t do it….also we had rushed to ER IN MIDDLE OF NIGHT so someone going to house to wash dishes & vacuum was much appreciated once I went home

  • Goldie P

    Several people have said call before visiting, because many patients don’t want visitors. I was different. I unexpectedly spent a month in the hospital due to complications from major surgery. I was *so* lonely. Visits were crucially important to me. So please don’t assume that nobody wants visitors. Calling and checking is probably a good idea, but if they say they’d like a visit, please follow through. Don’t disappoint somebody who’s sick and lonely by giving them the idea that you’ll visit and then not showing up. My other suggestion… soft, cotton handkerchiefs. My nose got so sore from the rough hospital tissues, and even nice brand-name tissues felt rough. But the lotion in premium tissues like Puffs Plus With Lotion kind of gagged me and made it hard to breathe. The only thing that soothed my chapped nose (and face) was my dad’s 100% cotton men’s handkerchiefs. He brought me one every morning and I kept it in the pocket of my hospital gown all day.

  • Kathy

    When I was in the hospital I did not want visitors as I was exhausted from my 10 hour surgery. Seven days in a room with doctors and nurses interrupting your sleep day and night is no vacation. I will say when you post that you have cancer you receive a lot of mixed reactions. I received a lot of cards that were more sympathy oriented than uplifting. This can make a person even more depressed. My best advise to others is to put yourself in the patient’s shoes and do for them as you would want done if you were in that same situation. Most people did not understand that I am now on a restricted diet and that my surgery was life altering. Do some research. People that have been in my shoes are truly the only one I wish to speak with because they too get tired of the “how are you feeling”

  • Barbara B. Cantor

    When mailing a note to a hospitalized person, always put their home return address on the envelope, since they may be transferred to a Rehab Facility, etc., family will always deliver their mail to them.

  • Nancy Sellers

    The person’s favorite fruit as well as extra fruit to share with family and friends.

  • Tom Morofski

    Visits are wonderful, familier faces bring comfort. Just remember to keep the visits short and personal. No siting in a chair playing with your I-phone or otherwise looking bored. Do the very best you can to smile and stay positive no matter the situation … go out of the room if you must cry. Remember that the Lord is with you, and if appropriate, remind the patient that Jesus promise never to leave them is iron clad. Again, if appropriate, ask if the patient would like to pray with you. Smile, stay positive and encouraging especially as you leave.

  • Carla

    Make a phone call to the person in the hospital, if it’s appropriate. It’s always nice to hear a voice of someone and know they are thinking of you.

  • Nancy

    Home cooked food is very much appreciated, but be sure to check with the hospital to make sure it’s ok. The patient may be on a restricted diet. Family that has been eating hospital cafeteria food or fast food would most definitely appreciate it.

  • Nancy V

    Nice scented soap, Cologne spray and scented talc are great. I was in the hospital and then rehab for 3 months. Got two showers a week and welcomed the nice smelling stuff between times. It was a 100 degree summer, and the best treat was a chocolate shake from McDonalds. But check about dietary restrictions first.

  • Nancy V

    Small size scented soaps, Cologne splash, nice talc.
    I was in hospital and then rehab for 3 months and got two showers a week. It felt so good to know I didn’t smell so bad 🙂

  • Mike

    When I’m in a hospital, short-term, feeling and/or looking crappy, or experiencing quite a bit of pain, I don’t care for visits, yet prayers and cards are always welcome.

  • Cynthia Horton

    Email club members and keep them informed if you are a leader of a group.
    Send a plant whenever they are not in MICU, or CICU etc. They may be allergic to certain flower smells.
    Contact the hospital or rehab Chaplain and ask them to make periodic visits.
    Keep the Church informed.
    Speak positive encouraging words at all times.
    Always pray for God’s to bring relief from pain or anxiety.

  • Vangy

    A gift card to the hospital cafeteria allowed family to eat together and stay close by during a time of crisis.

  • Michelle Snyder

    Show compassion, even if you do not know the patient. When I had a major surgery last year I had a sweet elderly lady accidently come in my room by mistake. I had been crying and she asked if there was anything she could do.She sat and talked with me just about anything to take my mind off my pain for a while, when she went to leave I told her that I thought that she was an Angel from God and that there was a reason she accidently camebinto my room.
    Be kind to someoneeven a “hello” can brightenen someones day!

  • Jean S.

    I would give the family gift cards to their favorite restaurants, rather than bring them food. They may not have the same likes or they may not have room in their fridge/freezer for the food from friends, depending on how many people gave them food. With a gift card to their favorite restaurant, the family could order what they want, when they want it, even if it’s just take out. When my husband was in the hospital for 2 months and 3 months in rehab, there were many nights when I came home I didn’t even want to eat.

    All of the comments have excellent ideas!

  • EstherAsna

    Pray for them also :).

  • Joan H. Stewart

    Make sure your patient actually wants a visit. Most patients need the rest and talking with one or two persons is tiring ..Your visit will mean more when the patient is at home. Send cards to the hospital and to the primary care giver. This suggestion comes from a former patient who experienced surgery and a long recovery.

  • Brigid St Marie

    Excellent ideas! Thank you!

  • Kathy Schaeffer

    Great tips from Caring Bridge. For friends and family who face serious health issues, Caring Bridge has been pivotal in keeping everyone informed. ^ks

  • Patricia Khan

    Read to them an interesting, uplifting book including a bible.

  • barb

    All the above…but I would add that while the person is in the hospital…to tend to things at their home…watering plants, tending to pets, taking in the mail and papers…since leaving those laying around would be indicators that no one is home!… helping out any family that may be at the house, food, laundry and so forth… After returning home, continuing to be of aid during the recovery…house work, laundry, fixing meals…running errands…and DON’T “pat” your back about all the help you provided!!!

  • Michelle Van Engen

    Great ideas Sandy!

  • Michelle Van Engen

    Hi Janice,
    For help, please contact our Customer Care team at http://www.CaringBridge.org/help.
    Michelle, CaringBridge

  • Sandy G.

    Pay for a pass to the hospital parking garage for a few days. Our local hospital charged $15.00 a day to park. It added up fast with a 16 day stay. Also, pay a few days or so for use of the cable t.v. it ran over $100.00 for just the use of the television in the room. If possible, visit during off hours, morning and afternoon if possible. Most visitors came during the evening hours during the week…it gets very lonely during the day spending it all alone.

  • Janice Mortom

    How do u open your caring bridge site for people to donate
    who r not your facebook friends?

  • mindy

    I suggest a roll of super soft toilet paper and a roll of quarters in a change purse. Hospital tp is usually cheap and rough. The roll of quarters is for snackachine, drinks etc. Not because they are hungry, but it’s just important to take a walk when it’s possible. Now you have loose quaternary bulging from your pocket, hence the cute change purse.