Holiday shopping for a friend or relative staying at a hospital post-surgery or for other reasons can be a delicate endeavor. Spending the holidays in a hospital is difficult for the patient and their family and friends, especially if they have already been in the hospital for a long time.
However, there’s no better time to show your loved one you care with a gift they can enjoy despite their struggle — but you need to be selective about what gifts you buy. Flowers can trigger allergic reactions, chocolate might not be allowed on their diet and stuffed animals from the hospital gift shop often just take up precious space. So what gifts should you buy for hospital patients? Here are 15 surefire ideas that will make them more comfortable, from hospital clothes to e-readers:
The gowns supplied by the hospital are usually made of cold, uncomfortable, flimsy material that hardly covers anything. Whether or not your friend or family member is admitted for only a short while or a longer time, a premium hospital gown to walk around or sleep in will always be of use.
Our hospital gowns are made of soft materials with adaptive open-back closures and fabric panels that completely overlap in the back to preserve their dignity and help keep them warm. Our hospital gowns come in sizes and styles for both men and women so that you can choose a color or pattern that will appeal to your recipient (and be sure to look at our instructions for how to put on a hospital gown).
If your loved one is preparing to come home from the hospital soon, then they will definitely appreciate a gift of adaptive clothing. Adaptive clothing is available in many different styles with innovative features designed to fit particular health needs. Whether they need to dress themselves with one arm immobilized or they will be wheelchair bound and therefore need to get dressed while sitting, there is an adaptive clothing style that can help them. Check out our selection of post-surgery clothes to get an idea of what innovative solutions are available for your loved one and to decide which ones to include in your gift.
Instead of the disposable booties the hospital hands out, your friend or relative should have a good pair of their own hospital socks (and ideally more than one pair). These socks are made of a warm, fuzzy knit material that will keep their feet warm without chafing or rubbing their skin. They also feature rubber grips attached directly to the bottom of the sock to help keep them steady on their feet if they need to get up to use the restroom. Socks do get stinky quickly, so think about how long they will be in the hospital and get them a few pairs so they are able to switch up socks throughout the week to stay feeling fresh.
Slippers can be a nice break from non-skid socks and also provide even more fall prevention once your loved one is able to move around more. Look for slippers with slip-resistant soles that will help to reduce their odds of tripping and falling as they are getting back on their feet. Also seek out adjustable slippers with Velcro tabs that can be tightened or loosened with ease; lower body swelling is common in hospital patients, which means that their shoe size will vary from day to day. You may even need to go up a size or choose a wide-fit slipper if their feet have been swelling a lot lately.
The soaps and lotions in hospital bathrooms are usually generic, harsh, ineffective, downright unpleasant or some combination thereof. Giving your loved one their own toiletry set filled with their favorites from home will make it much easier for them to stay clean and fresh.
If you can, take a look in their washroom and see if there is anything that you can add to make the bathroom feel more familiar. If you aren’t sure what they like, get a basic package of fragrant soap, a soothing lotion, lip balm and hand lotion to fight the dry hospital air. If you want to go above and beyond, apothecary kits, aromatherapy diffusers and other self-care items are simple gifts that will improve mood and well being.
Premium Toilet Paper and Tissues
Hospitals typically get the cheapest paper products possible, which means that they shred easily and are uncomfortable to use. While this gift may seem boring, anyone who is in the hospital for a long stay will definitely appreciate having their own supply of super-soft toilet paper and tissues from a premium brand. If they have a very long stay, you may want to plan for monthly deliveries to keep them stocked up.
Something from Home
If your loved one has already been in the hospital for an extended period of time, the best present could be something they already have. Find out what they miss most about their house and see if you can bring it in. This might be their favorite blanket or pillow or something as small as a sweater. Whatever the case, it will make them more relaxed if they have something from home, which will contribute to a faster recovery. Just be sure to check with the hospital staff first if they want you to bring in something really unusual and/or large.
Food and Beverages
This is another category that you will need to vet before you purchase your gift since many hospital patients are on a strict diet, and some hospitals also limit outside food. However, if your loved one is allowed to have outside foods and beverages brought in, they will definitely appreciate a break from bland hospital food. Shelf-stable, prepackaged snacks are a great option that will keep in their room indefinitely. You can also bring in a home-cooked meal as long as they will be able to eat it right away since they probably won’t have a way to refrigerate leftovers.
Hospitals are bright, noisy places, even in the middle of the night, which can make it hard to get a good sleep. Get your loved one some sleep aids, such as an eye mask to block out light and ear plugs to deaden loud sounds, to help them rest better at night. If you are willing to spend a little more, they may find it beneficial to sleep with a white noise machine that emits background sound to muffle other loud noises in the hospital. Just make sure that there is an outlet near the bed that you can plug the white noise machine into.
Many people struggle with mobility during long hospital stays and may not be able to get up every time they need to grab something from a nearby table. A grabber reacher tool will extend their reach and make it easier for them to get what they need without having to call a nurse for assistance each time. These devices basically look like plastic claws attached to the end of a long rod, which are operated by a lever handle at the other end. Some models come with an extendable arm, while others are made at a fixed length.
Books and Magazines
Passing time is one of the toughest things to do during a long hospital stay, and books and magazines are a great option if your loved one feels up to reading. Magazines are easy to flip through when they don’t have a long attention span, while fast-paced novels will entertain them for longer periods of time. If your loved one is looking for something a little more stimulating, you can give them an educational book about one of their hobbies, but most people will need something a little less mentally challenging (especially right after a surgery).
E-Reader or Tablet
If your loved one is going to be in the hospital for an extended period of time, look into getting a Kobo or other e-reader options. That way they can read more than one book without having to lug around a bunch of hardcovers or paperbacks. If you give them a gift card for Kobo, they can pick out their own books and new reads. Plus, if your loved one is older, you can change the font on the e-reader to make sure that they can read it.
If you really want to splurge, you can get them a full-on tablet that also allows them to download TV shows, media, and other media so they can have an all-in-one device. Add in an extension cord so they can still use the tablet while it’s charging, even if the outlet is far away from the bed.
Streaming Service Subscriptions
Watching TV shows or movies is one of the best ways to pass the time in a hospital, which is why it’s a good idea to prep your loved one with their favorite media rather than relying on whatever reruns the hospital TV gets. Most hospital rooms do have a TV with a DVD player, but it may be easier to download their favorites onto a laptop or tablet so that they can stream them on demand.
If your loved one doesn’t have the attention span to sit through an entire movie, then try downloading 20-minute episodes from a comedy show, which will be easier for them to get through. And if your loved one doesn’t currently have any subscriptions to streaming services, then sign them up for a couple that offer content you know they will enjoy.
Music is a great way to make the time pass when your loved one doesn’t have the mental capacity to focus on other media, but in hospitals you often aren’t allowed to play music out loud. Therefore, your loved one will need a nice set of headphones in addition to a tablet or music player so they can enjoy their playlists in peace.
Pre-load the device with playlists of their favorite songs so they don’t have to rely on an internet connection for streaming. Try making a playlist of happy songs and sad songs and then even a playlist of just nature or the outdoors. This will give them calming sounds if they want to take a nap and not be awakened by any loud hospital alarms.
A Visit from You
Of course, nothing is a better gift for hospital patients than a personal visit from a friend or family member! If someone is in a hospital for an extended period of time, a visit from you and making sure that they are comfortable is the best gift you can give them. Being confined to a hospital room or bed can get quite lonely or boring.
Block off a few hours one day to bring them a gift or simply talk, help care for them and be in their presence. Make sure to contact their friends or family, as well, and make sure they are also all doing their part. A visit from you will mean a lot to them, but multiple visits from friends and family will mean the world to them.
Ready to buy some hospital clothes for the patient in your life? At Silverts, we offer a range of adaptive clothing for many different illnesses and injuries, from hospital gowns to post-surgery clothing. All U.S. orders ship free, and U.S. orders over $100 get free rush shipping, so don’t be afraid to stock up.