Thoughtful Gifts to Bring Someone in the Hospital


May 11, 2024

Thoughtful Gifts to Bring Someone in the Hospital

As a family caregiver, visiting a loved one in the hospital can be emotionally taxing. You want to show your care and support, but it might be challenging to decide what to bring along that is both thoughtful and practical. Here are some ideas for gifts and items that can make a hospital stay a little more comfortable for your loved one.

“Great coffee & food, cards, books, & my pillow!”

Diana D. K.

Good Tissues & Toilet Paper

A common grievance among hospital patients is the lack of quality tissues and toilet paper. This might not be your first thought when bringing a gift to the hospital, but you might be surprised at how nice a couple of boxes of high-quality, soft bathroom products can be.

“Silly but it made me smile and turned out to be the best gift. I gift this to all my hospitalized loved ones now. It’s a roll of really soft toilet paper. Pamper yourself in the small ways to get through the days! It’s affordable and ended up being really appreciated.”

Mindy S. M.

Personal Care Items

High-Quality Toiletries: Bringing a small bag of favorite toiletries, like a preferred brand of shampoo or soap, can make the sterile hospital environment feel more personal and refreshing.

Lip Balm and Lotion: The air in hospitals can be dry, so lip balm and hydrating lotion can help keep skin moisturized and comfortable.

Soft Blankets and Pillows: Hospitals can often feel chilly and impersonal. A soft, warm blanket or a small, comfortable pillow can help your loved one feel more at home.

Comfortable Clothing: Soft robes or pajamas, particularly those that are easy to put on and take off, can be a much-appreciated comfort when one is confined to a hospital bed.

“My step daughter brought me some fragrance-free lotion and a can of dry shampoo! Then she brushed it through my hair. It felt so good.”

Kathryn C.


As the saying goes: good food, good mood. Consider bringing your loved one’s favorite yummy goodies to bring a smile to their face. Just make sure to check for any dietary restrictions, and confirm you can bring food into the hospital. 

Favorite Treats: Pack some non-perishable snacks that your loved one enjoys. Things like granola bars, dried fruits, or nuts can be a welcome treat.

Homemade or Restaurant Meals: If allowed by the hospital, bringing a homemade meal can offer a comforting taste of home and can be a nutritious alternative to hospital food.

“I have food allergies and was starving because I couldn’t eat what was brought. When my friend dropped off melon cubes, pasta salad, and fresh cucumber, I ate for 36 hours.”

Loretta L.

Technology for Connection

Extension Cord: What seems like a traditionally dull gift can actually be a huge asset in a hospital setting. Take the humble extension cord, for instance. Having an extra-long cord to get juice to your phone or tablet can be a game-changer, as can a power strip.

Charging Cords and Portable Chargers: Keeping devices charged is crucial for staying connected with friends and family. A long charging cord or a portable charger can be incredibly useful.
Tablets or E-readers: If your loved one doesn’t have one, bringing a tablet or e-reader can provide access to books, movies, and games, all from one device.

Quality Time

Hospital stays can get lonely. Be there for your loved one by checking up on them and spending time together, whatever way you can. If you are able, consider coming in for an in-person visit, or connect virtually with a phone call or video chat. Whichever way works best for you and your loved one, just being there can mean the world.

“After a serious surgery, my husband was in [the hospital] for 12 days. What meant the most to us was the people who showed up, especially when we knew it was an inconvenience for them, but also thoughtful enough to keep visits short. They supported me as a caregiver and ate meals with me.”

Nancy S. K.

Books, Magazines, Games

Reading can provide an escape from your own world into an entirely new one, which might be just what your loved one could use. You might gift a few of your favorite books, or something you think they might like. Coloring books, sketchbooks and journals can provide a creative outlet. Magazines also make a great option, being highly visual and fun to flip through. Also, crossword puzzles, Sudoku books, or compact board games can help pass the time and keep the mind active.

“Magazine to browse. Couldn’t concentrate enough to read a book, but a magazine was perfect.”

Linda M. B.

Gift Cards

Gift cards can be a simple way to offer financial support in a thoughtful way. You might bring a card for their favorite restaurant or coffee shop, gas stations, or for something fun like an activity once they get out of the hospital. 

“When my dad was hospitalized for 10 months after a spinal cord injury, we received everything from gift cards for food and gas to baseball tickets for the family to get out and about and even a gift card to make a teddy bear at Build-a-Bear workshop. Our network always checked our posts and sent wonderful cards and other things.”

Bethany D. A.

A Reminder of Home

Homesickness is a common feeling when in the hospital. Your loved one may be craving the comforts of home, whether that be a favorite blanket or their pet. If you aren’t sure what they’d enjoy, consider asking them what they miss most about home, and find a way to bring that feeling back to them.

Photos and Mementos: Personal photos or small items from home can brighten up a hospital room and provide comfort and memories.

Music and Audiobooks: A small Bluetooth speaker or headphones can allow your loved one to listen to their favorite music or audiobooks, which can be soothing during stressful times.

“My 93 year old momma was in the hospital for a toe surgery. She always had one of her cats on her lap at home. She was frightened in the hospital and on pain meds. Anyway, I bought her a stuffed kitty. She never let go of it. She even talked to it and petted it when the drugs were playing with her mind. It comforted her.”

Sharon R.B.

Helping Out at Home

When you’re at the hospital, especially if you have frequent visits or stay for long periods of time, managing the day-to-day at home can become incredibly difficult. One very helpful thing you can do for your loved one is to find out where you can help out at home.

This could include household tasks like mowing the lawn, dog-sitting or watering the plants. Or it may include something bigger, like helping with childcare. The peace of mind knowing their household is taken care of can be one of the greatest gifts you can give.

“Taking care of things at home. We spend a lot of time in the hospital with my medically complex daughter. Knowing the grass is cut, plants watered, mail brought in, etc is the biggest gift.”

Deb L.

When choosing a gift, consider the space limitations in hospital rooms and the medical condition of your loved one. Always check with hospital staff if you’re unsure about the appropriateness of any item. Ultimately, the best gift you can offer is your time and attention; just being there can be the most comforting gesture of all.

Source: What to Bring Someone In The Hospital

We hope this information is helpful to you in the important work you do as a family caregiver.
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