Gifts for Hospital PatientsGifts for Hospital Patients

When a friend or relative is in the hospital we often want to show our concern with a gift and card. The most common gift is flowers or a plant, but hospital rooms are small and can become crowded with floral displays. Frequently there is little table space that isn’t needed by the medical staff. What would be a thoughtful gift for the person laid up in the hospital? Consider some of these ideas.

Something to pass the time

  • Paperback books help to pass the time, especially if you know a couple of your friend’s favorite authors or genres. Hardcover books can be too heavy to hold comfortably when one is sick.
  • If the room has a DVD player, bring a movie. This could even be from the public library if you make sure to return it on time.
  • Puzzle books: crosswords, word finds, brain teasers.
  • The latest issue of a favorite magazine.
  • Audio books on CD with a CD player, or on MP3 with an inexpensive MP3 player. Some earbuds for private listening would go well with one of these.

Just for fun

  • Helium-filled balloons are also popular and don’t take up needed space. They are colorful with many messages and come in a variety of shapes.
  • A wooden or metal puzzle, or a Rubik’s cube.
  • Cartoon books can help lift the mood of the patient.
  • Bring some tape and spend some time putting the cards the patient has received on the wall. Pause and read each card aloud as you do this. If the hospital doesn’t want tape on the walls, bring string and tape the cards to the string, then hang it where the patient can see it from the bed.

Personal care

  • Most hospitals provide some toiletries, but not all. Mint dental floss, cinnamon toothpicks, Chapstick or lip balm, a small bottle or tube of hand cream might come in handy.
  • Nail clippers.
  • Nail polish, and stay to apply it. The touch of your hands can be therapeutic. If your friend isn’t used to wearing nail polish, bring clear lacquer.
  • A shawl or bed jacket.
  • Slippers with non-slip soles or a pair of their favorite shoes for walking in the halls.
  • A robe for modesty when walking the halls.
  • Socks to warm their feet.


  • Candy, (make sure it’s sugar-free for diabetics), chewing gum.
  • If their diet permits, bring in one of their favorite meals from a local restaurant. Most hospitals have seven different menus (one for each day of the week), and if they are there for more than one week, it can get boring. Find out what time meals are served so you can bring it then, and let your friend know, so that they won’t eat the hospital food for that meal.
  • Small framed photos of their family and friends. This can mean a lot to the patient.
  • Grandkids’ art work.

Your friend will be grateful for your thoughtfulness and originality. And your gift will stand out from all the flowers!

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