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Returning from a Hospital Stay

Posted on June 01, 2015

Spending time in the hospital is nobody’s cup of tea. Whether due to a serious illness or medical procedure, birth of a baby, or an elective procedure, hospitals don’t provide the creature comforts of home.

If someone you know is about to come home after a hospital stay, whether it was overnight or for several weeks, there are a few things you can do to help make the transition back home more comfortable and enjoyable:

If your friend or loved one has been away from home due to an extended hospital stay, a great way to help welcome them back is to help prepare the house for their arrival. Of course, this depends entirely on if the patient is comfortable having someone else in their home. But if you have the green light, you might do some light cleaning, changing of bed linens, or tidying up the landscape if need be. If time prohibits this and you have the appropriate budget, you may also consider hiring someone to do some cleaning and lawn care prior to the patient’s return home. If the patient’s return coincides with a holiday, doing a little decorating on their behalf might be a welcome surprise and help get them back into the swing of things and into the holiday mood.

Making sure there is ample reading material in the form of books and magazines, as well as movies, is also a great way to help ease the transition back home for someone who may be housebound or bed ridden as part of their recovery period.

Depending on the patient’s mobility and recovery time they’ll likely welcome the offer to help care for their children, if they have any. Even if the patient has a spouse or partner, having some time alone in their home to rest without having to worry about their children can be a simple but very effective gift of time as well as peace and quiet.

Ensuring the patient has enough food on hand is also a helpful way to make the return home a little easier. Whether you arrange a meal calendar with friends and loved ones for home-made or freezer-ready meals or arrange to have a Meal Gift delivered on your behalf, making sure the person has enough food on hand is important. Even offering to take a trip to the grocery store to pick up snacks, beverages, and anything else they might need will likely be appreciated.

Once the patient has returned home and settled in, don’t forget to check in. A quick call or text message on a regular basis to check in on how they’re feeling and if they need anything will be immensely appreciated. Don’t expect them to call you if they need anything, they likely won’t want to bother you. Instead, offer specific help: “I’m headed to the grocery store, is there anything I can get you?”, “I have some free time this afternoon, would you like some company?” or “Could you use some help with laundry or dishes?” They may not take you up on it, but they’ll certainly appreciate the direct and specific offer.

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