The following tips from the Family Advisory Board are suggestions for ways to support a family whose child is hospitalized.
- Offer to run errands: pick up groceries; take siblings to daycare, school or extra curricular activities; take care of pets; or pick up dry cleaning.
- Provide child care for sibling at home, or other types of sibling support such as care packages or special outings.
- Prepare meals for family at home.
- Help with household chores such as watering plants, mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, walking dogs, collecting mail, and doing laundry.
- Assist with phone calls, if requested. Help keep the patient's extended family and friends up to date on the patient's condition so the family isn't overwhelmed by concerned callers.
- Offer to listen, 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 clear their minds.
Helpful gift suggestions:
Soft pillows, blankets, slippers, books, magazines, snacks, gum, mints, toothbrush, activity books for caregiver, patient or sibling; journal and organizer for hospital papers.