The sorry-you’re-waiting-in-a-hospital care package

(I posted this about five years ago, but some recent time spent in a hospital waiting room caused me to revisit)

Some of you may not yet have had to spend several days in a row in a hospital or ICU waiting room praying and waiting and hoping that everything turns out alright for the person you love who has ended up in a hospital bed. I probably don’t need to tell you that it’s not fun…at all. It’s exhausting and stressful and uncomfortable. It is distressing and disruptive. It can be some of the hardest days people will ever spend–waiting by the bedside of a loved one who is seriously ill or injured. So what can you do for the person who is waiting on the person they love to get well? 

Praying, of course, is a good start. Being present for them is another step. Also, taking care of things like laundry, kid pick-up, food prep and other daily chores is almost always appreciated (I basically broke in to a friend’s house once to clean it when she and her family had to leave suddenly for a family medical emergency).

But if you want to take something tangible to the person, here is an idea for a care basket that that I have given variations of many, many times. It is always much appreciated by the person who has received it.

An inexpensive divided tote found at a dollar store is a great, easy to store and carry container for your goodies.

Hospital air is always dry, so lotion and lip balm are a must. Unless you know your person’s preferences, go with unscented versions.
Dry air breeds dry mouth and icky breath. These little disposable tooth brushes make your mouth feel fresh and clean…and you’d be surprised how much that can help the way you feel. Mints are always a good move as well.
A little something to add to just plain water is always appreciated.
Lack of sleep, stress and bad diet leads to a weakened immune system. Give it a boost with some mega doses of vitamin C
Since healthy eating habits are pretty much the first thing to go when someone is stuck waiting in a hospital, healthy snacks are a much-needed provision.

Many hospitals have chain restaurants or coffee shops right in the building, so gift cards for something other than the hospital cafeteria are always greatly appreciated.

A puzzle book (sudoku, crossword or word search) is a thoughtful addition as well. One can only stare at a screen for so long.

Fuzzy socks, sleep masks and small notebooks are also inexpensive items that will be put to good use.

If you know the person well, you can personalize with particular things you know they would like.

These care baskets are not only thoughtful and helpful to the person who receives them, they help those of us who put them together feel like we’re doing at least a little something to make things a bit better during a difficult time.




Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently based in New York City. Doubting Believer provides tools and encouragement for the rollercoaster ride of your faith journey. Follow me on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube. You can also follow on TikTok. Get emails to keep up with all that is happening.

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