Whether you’re recovering from surgery or welcoming a new baby, time spent in the hospital is always challenging. Cramped quarters, sterile decor, and limited visiting hours can make a person feel isolated and yearn for home.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What to Bring Someone With a Terminal or Serious Illness
- What to Bring Someone Who Just Had a Baby
- What to Bring Someone After a Surgery
- What to Bring Someone With a Minor Illness or Injury
When you’re visiting someone in the hospital, you might want to alleviate as much of that stress as you possibly can. While traditional hospital gifts like flowers and get-well cards can go a long way, a more personalized gift can go even further.
So what should you bring to someone in the hospital? Consider the thoughtful gift ideas included here when you’re preparing to visit a loved one in the hospital.
What to Bring Someone With a Terminal or Serious Illness
Sometimes, a trip to the hospital doesn’t result in a speedy recovery. If you’re visiting someone with a terminal illness or serious diagnosis, picking out a gift is even more difficult.
Consider these gift ideas if you want to brighten your loved one’s day while they’re in the hospital with a serious illness.
1. Cozy pajamas
You can only wear a hospital gown for so long. If your loved one has been in the hospital for more than a day or so, they’ll want to get changed into something more comfortable.
Even if they brought PJs from home, they could always use another pair to switch out.
Flowers are the more common hospital gift because they can brighten up a stark room. But flowers take up a lot of space, and their water vases can harbor harmful bacteria.
An alternative is a space-saving plant like a small succulent, which doesn’t require much upkeep or watering.
We like the Costa Farms Clean Air 3-Pack Plants from Amazon.
3. Manicure gift set or certificate
A long hospital stay can result in dry cuticles and less-than-perfect nails. It can also make your loved one feel like their lacking personal care.
A great remedy for this is the gift of a manicure set, or better yet, a gift certificate for a professional manicure and pedicure. Many manicurists will travel to the hospital to provide their services.
4. Adult coloring book
Another obstacle in the hospital is feeling one’s time. When your loved one is on their own without visitors, they likely get bored and restless.
Activities, like an adult coloring book and colored pencils, can help take their mind off things and relax.
Similarly, a journal can help your loved one decompress and spend a few hours in reflection. A journal is a perfect gift for a loved one who enjoys writing or anyone who might need to vent when no one’s around.
6. A warm blanket
Hospital blankets aren’t the most comfortable or luxurious. If you want to make your friend or loved one’s hospital stay a bit homier, a soft and warm blanket is a great gift idea.
We like the Bedsure Fleece Blanket Throw from Amazon.
What to Bring Someone Who Just Had a Baby
Going to the hospital isn’t always a negative experience. For new moms and dads, visiting the hospital can be one of the most memorable times of your life.
But what should you bring someone who’s just given birth to a new bundle of joy at the hospital? Here are some gift ideas for the new moms and dads in your life.
7. Soft robe
Like a warm blanket and comfy PJs, a soft robe is an ideal hospital gift. It’s an especially great idea for new moms who are nursing in the hospital.
We like the MAXMODA Lightweight Long Robe from Amazon.
Feeding and caring for a new baby is a near-magical experience--at first. But after a while, the experience can become tiring and tedious.
A good movie or a television series is the perfect gift for the new mom who’s stuck in a hospital room. Many rooms have DVD players built-in, but it’s a good idea to double-check. You could also bring the new mom a laptop with a disc drive or buy or rent a movie from Amazon.
9. Sweet treats
Some high-quality chocolates or home-baked cookies can be enough to brighten your friend or loved one’s day while they’re in the hospital.
After having a baby, a new mom can use all of the extra energy and nourishment she can get. And if it tastes good, that’s even better.
10. Massage gift certificate
New moms are bound to feel sore all over while they’re recovering in the hospital. Not only has their body just undergone immense physical stress--but she’s also cooped up in a small room with a less-than-comfy bed.
A gift certificate for a massage is a perfect gift. You can even find massage therapists who will visit the hospital for postpartum clients.
11. Essential oil diffuser
Hospitals have a distinct, sterile scent. If you want to make a new mom feel more at home and relaxed during her hospital stay, an essential oil diffuser paired with relaxing oils like lavender is a perfect gift.
A diffuser can also help alleviate the dry air associated with hospitals.
If your loved one loves to read, you can help her stay entertained in the hospital with a bookstand or bookrest.
While nursing, she’ll need both hands to support the new baby in the hospital bed or chairs. A bookrest ensures that she can still get in some reading during that time.
We like the wishacc Adjustable Book Holder from Amazon.
What to Bring Someone After a Surgery
Surgery can be a life-changing experience. Someone who’s just undergone serious surgery and is recovering in the hospital can use all of the support they can get. When you’re getting ready to visit someone in the hospital after their surgery or send them a message, it’s a good idea to buy your gift before you get there. (Don’t resort to the hospital gift shop.)
What should you get for a friend or loved one after surgery? Here are some great gift ideas.
13. Socks and slippers
Anything that makes a stay in the hospital more comfortable is a great gift idea. Your loved one might be stuck in bed, or they might be able to roam the halls.
Either way, some fuzzy socks or slippers will help make them feel more at home.
14. Home-cooked food
If you’ve ever had an extended stay in the hospital, you know that hospital food leaves much to be desired.
After surgery, your loved one or friend can use all of the energy and food for recovery that they can get. A home-cooked meal will help lift your loved one’s spirits.
15. Card and board games
When you and others go to visit your family member or friend in the hospital, it helps to have something to do. An entertaining card or board game can help your loved one feel normal and have fun while they see visitors.
We like the UNO: Classic Card Game from Amazon.
16. Phone charger extension
Not all hospital rooms are set up in a way that works for our modern devices. Often, the only outlet available for a charger is ten feet away.
You can solve that problem for your loved one by gifting them a long phone charging cord. Make sure to match their device!
Everyone gets bored in the hospital. While TV and movies are great for passing the time, sometimes your loved one might want to settle in with a good book.
Bring them one of your favorites or a new release that you think they’ll love.
18. A good pillow
Just like hospital blankets, hospital pillows aren’t always the highest quality. If your loved one is in the hospital recovering from surgery, a good pillow can make them a whole lot more comfortable.
Consider whether they’re a side-sleeper, a stomach-sleeper, or a back-sleeper when you’re picking one out.
We like the COZSINOOR Hotel Collection Pillows from Amazon.
What to Bring Someone With a Minor Illness or Injury
Even when a trip to the hospital is for something more minor, like a slight fracture or a temporary illness, the time spent in a hospital is stressful.
You can help your loved one beat feelings of in-hospital boredom and discomfort with the gifts below.
Your loved one might not be in the hospital long enough to need a professional massage. But a scalp-massager or back-massager might be the perfect gift to help them get more comfortable.
20. Sleep mask and earplugs
Hospitals can be noisy, and when you’re trying to take a nap, they can be much too bright. A sleeping mask and some simple earplugs can help your loved one get some much-needed rest.
We like the Mavogel Cotton Sleep Eye Mask from Amazon.
21. Good instant coffee
As previously mentioned, hospital cafeterias aren’t known for their attention to quality service. The same goes, unfortunately, for hospital coffee.
If your loved one is in the hospital overnight, you can ease their stay by bringing some good instant coffee that tastes as good as home-brewed.
22. Tasty snacks
Similarly, you can make your friend or family member’s hospital stay more enjoyable by providing some tasty snacks. They won’t have to ask the nurse for food or wait for mealtimes every time they get peckish.
We like the Variety Snack Care Package from Amazon.
23. Personal products
Hospital air can be incredibly drying and harsh. And the standard hospital personal care products often provide little relief. A small gift basket with essentials like hydrating lotions, conditioners, moisturizers, and lip balm can help a lot.
We like the Burt's Bees Essential Gift Set from Amazon.
If your loved one has only a minor illness or injury, they can probably move around the hospital quite a bit.
They might not want to walk around in their hospital gown or even in their PJs. You can give them more freedom by gifting some cozy leisurewear that’s more public-appropriate.
Finally, consider giving your loved one something to pass the time. A 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle isn’t the best option for a cramped hospital room, but you can bring brain-teasers like crosswords and Sudoku instead.
Choosing the Best Hospital Gift
Visiting someone you love in the hospital is emotionally taxing. But coming prepared with a thoughtful gift lets you overcome feelings of helplessness.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can even bring snacks and gifts for the ward’s nurses, too.