General chatter - Care Package Ideas for Sick Friends

05-31-2011, 05:09 PM
My best friend and her husband are facing a very serious illness. They will both be spending a lot of time in and out of the hospital. The big fear is that there will not be a happy ending to this.

I wanted to send them something they could use - but I have no idea what. They don't have children, and although all our friends have asked, they said they don't need anything. Still, I wish to help and want to perk them up, if I can.

Any suggestions on a care package for them?

05-31-2011, 05:20 PM
Are they both ill, or will one be visiting the other? If one is visiting the other, I would suggest magazines, puzzle books, healthy snacks, gift cards to nearby restaurants, books, etc.

05-31-2011, 05:22 PM
Yes, one is visiting the other.

Those ideas are great! Thank you :)

05-31-2011, 05:36 PM
Anyone spending a lot of time in and out of the hospital needs things to DO in the hospital that don't take a lot of energy. Do they like books? Crossword puzzles? Magazines? When you're stuck in bed with nothing but TV, any activity that they can do quietly will help to break the monotony.

In addition, hospital gowns can be cold and generally uncheerful...if they'll be in and out, you might get them bathrobes, slipper socks, or a shawl to keep warm. An eye mask can be useful, too, since it can be hard for some people to sleep in a lit hospital room.

I'd bundle up warm/comfort type items and a few activities and put them in a bag that they can easily transport to the hospital and back.

One more thing...if they're facing an extended stay, some live plants or flowers have been shown to reduce stress, which can mean better healing. Something to consider.

05-31-2011, 05:38 PM
One more thing - hospitals provide some fairly institutional soaps and such, and people can feel rather unclean sitting in a hospital bed. You might throw some dry shampoo, gentle face wipes in a pleasant scent, etc into the bag. When facing an illness, something as simple as feeling clean can be a big mental boost.

05-31-2011, 05:51 PM
Music or stories (audiobooks) for an iPod?

Lavender essential oil to relax?

I like the shawl idea. A very light pashmina, perhaps, in a gorgeous fabric and colour.

05-31-2011, 05:56 PM
visit. Your presence will mean more than anything you can buy.

05-31-2011, 06:05 PM
I take cherrypie's point. A friend of a friend was in hospital for many, many months with no end in sight. Her friends texted her regularly: hellos, weather updates, jokes, any news at all from outside the hospital. The world shrinks when you're in hospital - word from outside really lifts the spirits.

05-31-2011, 06:21 PM
How about some vitamins too? Fresh flowers are nice. Mints or hard candy to suck on (if that's ok with the condition). You're so incredibly thoughtful!

05-31-2011, 06:35 PM
When a dear friend was in the hospital, another friend brought a new pillow with HOT PINK pillow cases! My friend immediately looked better lying on it! The nurses and doctors all commented on what a great idea it was.

05-31-2011, 06:46 PM
There have been some wonderful suggestions here. A few that I have had crop up in my local community are:

If you live locally (I couldn't tell from your post), perhaps a meal or two for the person who is commuting back and forth to the hospital, something for the freezer perhaps?

Housecleaning services (done by you, or on a schedule of friends, or a service) so they can focus on getting better/helping their partner?

A journal, writing or art supplies, cards or puzzles (if they like that sort of thing)

Flowers and living plants are always wonderful, especially if delivered in person :) it sounds like you are a close friend, and I hope that as the healing process is taking place they feel comfortable enough to tell you what they need. Best wishes to your friends.

05-31-2011, 06:57 PM
Let's see, what can be useful.

1) Making it really clear that they can talk to you if they want, not talk if they want privacy, that sort of thing.

2) Offering lifts, sometimes that helps. Someone visiting their ill partner can be too distraught to drive safely at times.

3) I'm a quilter, I move in quilting circles, so of course my first thought is a quilt. I'm guessing that you're not a quilter because you'd have thought of it already, though of course I could be wrong. If you happen to have any mutual friends who are quilters, that could be nice. Just a lap quilt, doesn't have to be complicated or slow to make, but you could help with the design (choosing colours, patterns etc.) even if you don't actually make it, and they're great gifts. Personal, colourful, individual, useful in a hospital.

05-31-2011, 07:06 PM
And don't forget the chores at home......
Mow the lawn
Water the lawn
Water the house plants
Do the laundry
Iron the laundry
Feed the cat/dog/goldfish
Bring in the mail
Bring in the newspaper
Wash the car
Gas up the car if it is a long drive to the hospital
A roll of quarters to use in vending machines in the hospital

05-31-2011, 10:07 PM
I second the ipod can pick up an MP3 player for relatively little, and you can borrow audio books from the library and load them on the MP3 player for them when you visit. I have recommendations for great audio books if you need them. :)

06-01-2011, 01:27 PM
These are all super! Thank you all: my friends and I are lucky to have you!

06-01-2011, 04:11 PM
Bring food if you can when you visit, if the patient has no dietary restrictions. Hospital food sucks! Just because they're in the hospital doesn't mean they are required to only eat their food. We'd bring my dad his favorite foods like BBQ and things like that.

When my dad was in the hospital, he would have trouble keeping track of the days, so maybe a daily calendar would be nice. Not knowing what day it is kind of makes you feel hopeless, I think. If you are willing to spend some money, those little portable DVD players with screens are really nice. Maybe with some DVDs of movies/favorite shows.

You can bring the woman some make-up if she is feeling well enough and is into that sort of thing. Feeling like you're looking your best really helps you cheer up, I think. Definitely like face wipes and moisturizers, too. The air in hospitals is pretty dry so the skin can get really cracked. You could have a mini-spa day and give her a manicure, even.