Guardian Angels: How To Support a Friend in the Hospital

Guardian Angels: How To Support a Friend in the Hospital
Nothing is harder than watching a loved one in pain, and knowing how to help can be tough. Here, we offer practical tips for supporting hospitalized friends.

Nothing breaks my heart more than knowing that a friend or loved one is in pain. I’ve often wished that the burden of illness was like the burden of carrying something heavy. That way, I could come up beside them and help carry the load. So far, nobody’s found a way to do that yet. But we can still help bear the burden by supporting our hospitalized loves ones during their time of hardship.

Educate Yourself

It’s hard to know how to support a friend in the hospital if you don’t know their needs. And it’s hard to know their needs if you don’t understand what they’re going through.

After you find out what your friend’s injury or illness is, take the time to do some research on your own. Are there things that will be harder for your friend to do now? Is their household going to need to learn what remote patient monitoring is? Beyond that, educating yourself will help relieve your friend of needing to reexplain their condition and will help you empathize with their pain.

Ask What Their Wishes are

As much as your own research is important, the best person to tell you what your loved one needs is your loved one. And what you think someone in their situation needs may not match with what they actually want. Maybe your friend doesn’t really want visitors, or gifts don’t really help them feel better. Your friend has a lot on their plate already. Don’t needlessly add to their stress.

Help Out at Home

The best way to support a loved one in the hospital is to support a loved one outside the hospital. After all, being away from one’s home and family is hard enough without having to worry about things going by the wayside. Here are a few practical things you can do to help:

  • Babysitting or helping kids with schoolwork
  • Watching pets
  • Mowing the lawn
  • Shoveling the driveway
  • Taking care of car projects such as oil changes
  • Cleaning the house
  • Setting up a meal train

I don’t know about y’all, but I appreciate it when people do these things for me even when I’m perfectly healthy. I can only imagine how much it would help someone when they physically can’t do it.

Send Gifts

If your friend hasn’t expressly told you not to send gifts, do it. Gifts don’t have to be big or fancy. They can be something as simple as flowers, a get-well gift basket full of their favorite goodies, or a book to help them pass the time. You can even send little mementos from home, such as a flower from their garden or their favorite pillow. If it will make them smile, send it!

At the end of the day, the specifics aren’t necessarily what’s important. Whether you’re driving their kids to practice or visiting their room every day, the point is that you show them that they’re loved, remembered, and not alone.

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