Friend in the Hospital? 15 Ways to Show You Care

by Illnesses, Wisdom0 comments

I recently spent several days in the hospital. Since it has been over 40 years since I was last hospitalized, it was unsettling and scary. I was grateful to have doctors, nurses and staff care for my physical body. And it was wonderful to have the love of family and friends who cared for the emotional and spiritual side of me.  If you’ve ever been in the hospital, you know it’s no fun. Here’s what I learned from the experience – and how you can help a friend in the hospital.

A word of advice before I give you some specific ideas: check in with a family member who is familiar with the patient’s ability to receive guests. For example, during the first few days of my stay, I was too ill to receive guests. So only my husband and kids visited. Even if you are unable to visit, there are ways to help out, which I’ll describe later in this post.

While Your Friend is in the Hospital

Here are several simple, loving gestures which helped me during my hospital stay. Perhaps they’ll spark an idea for you, should you ever want to visit a friend in the hospital.

  • Every day a friend called my husband or me and inquired about my status.(Because of a breathing problem, it was not enjoyable for me to talk on the phone. So sometimes it is best to call a spouse or friend and have them relay the caring message to the person who is ill.)
  • Friends and family cared for my husband by bringing him food and inviting him out for dinner. This was such a blessing to him and to me.
  • My husband came and listened with me to our church’s worship service.
  • My two sons visited me very day.  (What a blessing that was!)
  • A nurse popped in my room often to ask, “May I do anything for you?”
  • A friend bought me tulips, my favorite flowers.
  • A friend brought me each evening my favorite ice cream.  (Salty Caramel)
  • A grandchild texted me often inquiring about my health and sending me her love.
  • A church friend sent a harp player to my room to play some of my favorite hymns.

[Related: Caregiving Tips for Visiting a Friend in the Hospital]

How to Help a Friend Who is Recuperating at Home

When a friend is in the hospital, it’s often best to wait until the person goes home before you take action. As I recovered at home, many people offered continued kindness. The wonderful thing about these gestures is that they are also applicable for someone who is recovering from an illness or surgery whether or not they were hospitalized.

  • Friends brought me a Doodle book.  It was fun to look through.
  • A friend delivered a basket filled with a lovely quilt she had made and a good book to read.
  • Two nieces sent me a lovely bouquet of flowers. 
  • A friend brought me a meal in a basket which contained soup, crackers, homemade pumpkin muffins, and Chai Spice black tea.
  • I received a pile of cards and notes which I read many times.  Receiving these handwritten notes and cards in the actual old-fashioned mailbox was such a blessing.  I could reread them several times and I still have them.
  • Friends brought us dinner and shared it with us.

All of these things said to me, “We are thinking of you.  We care.  We love you.” So, thank you to all who cared for me during my recent hospital stay. And if you have a family member or friend in the hospital, may this list of ideas help you Care Well.

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder is the founder of the Wisdom of the Wounded ministry. She lives in Holland, Michigan with her husband Larry.


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