This weekend I had a chance to really think about how to be a great friend when someone is in the hospital. A dear sweet friend of mine has a precious 1 year old in the hospital right now. She has been very sick and has been there since last Wednesday. I am a “do-er” and don’t like to just sit around when I know I could be used elsewhere, so I decided it would be greatly beneficial to stop what we were doing and head to Atlanta to cheer them up .
Oftentimes, people will say “let me know if you need anything”, but let’s be honest – most people aren’t going to ask for help when they need it most. I am one of those people. You can tell me all day long to just call you if I need help, but that call will never come. I’m slowly learning to accept help from others, but for the most part, I feel like I need to handle everything. Sometimes it’s good to go ahead and make the initiative to be a good friend instead of waiting for a phone call.
Let your friend know of your intention to visit. Before we went, I made sure to text her and see if they needed anything from home. She said that it would be great for a visit. It’s definitely recommended to let your friend know you plan to come visit.
Before we left, I contacted another friend that unfortunately spent a great deal of time at the hospital for ideas on what we should take to cheer them up. She came up with a great list.
Suggested things to bring for your friend or their family:
- Blanket (hospital ones can be rough and don’t smell nice)
- Cooler bag with home cooked meals in individual portions – bring something that you do not expect to get back and let them know you do not need it back.
- Books or Magazines
- Notecards with encouraging verses or notes
- Change for vending machine and washing machine
- Individual laundry detergent packets if there a long time
- Clean socks
- Dry Shampoo
- iTunes or Google Play giftcards
Stay only a short amount of time. Typically the recommended visit is 20 minutes or less. It’s long enough to be polite but not too long to exhaust the person you are visiting. If they invite you to stay longer and you can, then certainly do so, but watch for signs that you’re overstaying your welcome.
If you’re not able to go to the hospital, find out what you can do on the homefront. Can you take your friend’s children out for a day to give other caregivers a break? Are there pets that need care? Can you provide food for their family? You can arrange meals or cleaning for when they return home through websites like TakeThemAMeal.com.
Above all else, Pray for healing for your friend and their family. If you have permission, put their name on your church prayer list.
Taking the time to really show you care can mean a lot to someone in their time of need. They will always remember you helping out.
Do you have anything to add on how to be a good friend when someone is in the hospital? Leave a comment below.
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