The following tips from the Family Advisory Board are suggestions for ways to support a family whose child is hospitalized.
- Offer to run errands: get groceries; run siblings to daycare, school or extra curricular activities; take care of pets; or pick up dry cleaning.
- Provide sibling support at home, such as care packages, special outings, or child care.
- Prepare meals for the freezer or for quick fixes for the family at home. Set up a meal calendar with others.
- Help with household chores such as watering plants, mowing the lawn, cleaning house, walking dogs, collecting mail, and doing laundry.
- Send emails or make phone calls, if requested. Help keep the patient's extended family and friends up to date on the patient's condition so the hospitalized family isn't receiving lots of emails, text messages, and phone calls.
- Offer a should and an ear, but don't give advice unless requested.
- Help with seasonal activities such as holiday shopping, birthday shopping, present wrapping and card sending.
- Give parents and caregivers a time-out. Offer to sit with patient so parents can step out and have lunch, time alone or time to relax.
Helpful gift suggestions:
Soft pillows, blankets, slippers, books, magazines, movies, snacks, gum, mints, toothbrush, activity books for caregiver, patient or sibling; journal and organizer for hospital papers.