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Care Package Ideas for a Family in the Hospital

by Rebecca Cioffi

When your friends have a family member in the hospital, it is a difficult time for everyone. You want to help and give support, but you don't want to make a nuisance of yourself, seeming to need attention. And when a family has a member in the hospital, they are usually trying to create a schedule of visits that will keep their family member attended around-the-clock. A care package to keep them entertained and fed is a most thoughtful gift and really can answer a lot of needs. And with a little bit of thought, it's easy and doesn't need to cost a fortune.

Basic Needs

Give a selection of dried fruit and nuts.

When putting together a care package remember that hunger is at the top of the list of things that can cause people to be stressed. While there might be a cafeteria and local restaurants, you hesitate to leave the waiting room or the patient's room when you have a loved one in the hospital. So snacks are a wonderful thing to include in a care package. Think nuts and raisins and other dried fruit. These will lift blood sugar without causing it to be too high and cause a crash of energy. And energy bars are good, too, as are fresh fruit and cut-up celery and carrots with a small container of salad dressing to dip them in. Don't include casseroles or anything that needs to be heated up or kept cold. They likely won't have access to microwaves or refrigerators. Stick to healthy snacks and maybe a little bit of candy to sweeten the mood.

Keeping Distracted

Crossword puzzles can be entertaining.

Televisions are available in the hospital, but everyone has had the experience of zoning out on too much tube. It's nice to include some magazines and other ways to keep distracted. Word puzzles and number game mini books are cheap and fun to do when you are bored. Magazines can be informational or just plain gossip rags to pass the time. Keep the reading or games light and simple, nothing too heavy or complicated because people with a loved one in the hospital are already weighed down with worry. And a deck of cards is always appreciated.

Thoughtful Items

Personal care items are thoughtful.

A care package can really be a big help for items the family may never have thought they needed. Aspirin or over-the-counter pain relievers can be a lifesaver. Likewise cough drops, antihistamines, cortisone creme and vitamin C. Hospitals have lots of sick people and a visiting family member might pick up a bug. Hospitals cannot dispense medicines to family members of a patient. Likewise, when you are worried about a loved one, you forget basic needs, so things like lotion, moist towelettes, a toothbrush and toothpaste and disposable razors can be a true blessing.

About the Author

Rebecca Cioffi worked in the entertainment industry for almost 20 years and is currently living in Phoenix, Ariz., where she is working on a book. She is also a phlebotomist.

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