There's no denying staying in the hospital for an extended or undetermined period of time is a taxing experience. However, there are several easy ways to brighten a friend or family member's hospital stay.
Firstly, just being there is huge. The hospital can be an isolating and lonely place, and patients will no doubt appreciate the company. Your presence is a reminder of the world beyond the sliding hospital doors, and sharing anecdotes and updates from home will make them feel reassured. Generally speaking, having visitors is encouraging and beneficial for recovery. Never underestimate the importance of talking and listening!
Bringing something with you is always a nice gesture. It's not so much about the gift itself, but the thoughtfulness behind it. A homemade meal or a cozy blanket can be a comforting and familiar reminder of home, which will put the patient at ease. Hospital patients sometimes feel as though they are a burden to their family and friends and often won't ask for what they need, so it's also important to be aware of small touches that might improve their experience. Little things can make a big difference!
Playing games is not only a fun way to pass time, it's also a great opportunity to keep the mental faculties sharp. Being confined to the hospital can make the mind and body sluggish, but puzzles, board games and crosswords are an enjoyable, motivating challenge. The bonus? They'll also help take the patient's mind off their surroundings.
Other forms of entertainment are also welcomed. The hospital probably won't be equipped with the music, movies and television the patient is accustomed to at home. Bringing a laptop or tablet will be a pleasant distraction from day-to-day monotony, whether it's used to browse the web or binge-watch Netflix's original programming.
Lastly, acting as a helping hand outside of the hospital will give your friend or family peace of mind. Life doesn't stop just because you're stuck in a hospital bed, and thinking of all the responsibilities and obligations that are waiting back home can be a source of anxiety. Assure them that you can take care of a few things, even if it's just watering plants or picking up their mail.
There are countless ways to improve a loved one's stay at the hospital. These are just a few suggestions, but any meaningful gesture will go a long way in making sure they feel supported and cared for.