When a loved one is ill or they ended up in the hospital due to an accident, it’s their family members and friends’ job to help them go through that process more easily.
When someone you love goes through surgery or simply takes time to recover from an illness, it’s also hard for you to watch them feeling pain, being immobile, or simply being confined to one room.
The person going through recovery can be low in spirits, so it’s up to their loved ones to lift their spirits and ease the process.
The following is what experts recommend loved ones should do to make the patient’s stay in the hospital (or maybe at home while recovering) more comfortable.
Call before visiting
When your loved one is in the hospital, it isn’t always possible to see them. Sometimes, it’s the hospital rules on the visiting hours, and sometimes the patient simply doesn’t feel well enough.
It’s always better to call first and check if it’s allowed to come at a certain time and if the patient is feeling up for a visit. In some cases, other visitors have already announced their arrival, so it could be overwhelming for the patient to see so many of you at the same time. After all, it’s easier to talk when there aren’t too many people in the room.
Bring a present
Presents always cheer up people, especially those who don’t have a lot to do in their recovery rooms. You probably know what they like, but still, here are some ideas on what you could bring them:
- books or magazines – only if you know they enjoy reading and you know what genre/author/magazines they like.
- colouring books – there are colouring books for children and adults. They can be a source of a lot of fun, and their effect on reducing stress and anxiety and helping with insomnia is well-known.
- a source of fun, such as playing cards, word searches, crosswords puzzles, or Sudoku puzzles
- lotion, a soap, or a lip balm that your loved one commonly uses at home. It means to people when they have their favourite products with them so that they can maintain their usual self-care.
- comfortable pyjamas – spending time in soft, cute pyjamas can’t be that bad.
- a notebook or journal – some people enjoy writing down their thoughts and observances, and they would be thrilled if you got them a beautiful notebook or a journal in which they can write about their day and put their emotions on paper – it’s freeing, calming, and interesting.
- a photo album or scrapbook – looking at their loved ones on photos will make the patient’s time in recovery easier – remembering happy memories and funny moments can do a lot of good.
- their favourite treat or snack – we all know hospital food isn’t delicious, so great food from the “outside world” would mean a lot. However, don’t forget to check with the hospital if your choice of food is allowed (in case your relative or friend is on a restricted diet).
- flowers – flowers bring joy into any room, they improve the mood and make us feel more connected to nature – precisely what a person recovering from surgery/illness needs. Bring them get well soon flowers that will bring a smile on their face, cheer them up for several days and decorate the room, making it more pleasant to be in.
Offer your hand
After surgery, people have trouble doing their usual chores. For as long as the recovery takes, offer to do some chores for them. More precisely, don’t wait to be asked – some people feel uncomfortable asking others to help them. So, don’t wait for them to ask for help, simply say how you want to help and check if there’s anything else you can do for them.
It’s the most practical way to support them – doing the things they can’t due to their recovery. Chores like taking care of their pet, cooking a meal for them, driving their kids to school – it will allow them to be at ease and to rest more, which will speed up the recovery process – physical and emotional rest is of utmost importance for them.
Be positive and strong
People who have gone through a surgery or a serious illness can find it difficult sometimes to stay positive and confident.
As their loved one, it’s your job to be strong for them and to bring positivity into their every day.
Let them know they can rely on you and that you are to listen to them whenever they feel the need to complain or just to have a shoulder to cry on. They are very likely to get depressed at some point, feeling demotivated and beaten. You are the person who has to spread a good mood and a positive view of the situation. You are their rock; so, tell them it’s OK to feel bad sometimes, but don’t let them wallow in self-pity.
Remind them of the good reasons
In some cases, people opt for surgery due to the benefits it could bring them. For example, if they had been delaying having a joint replacement for years, it’s understandable they did that of fear and because they knew how long it would get them to recover.
When a bad day comes, it is easy to forget about the benefits they will have when the recovery is over. It’s up to you to remind them of all the reasons why they agreed to have the operation and all the good things that will come from it when they get their mobility back. Ensure them once more they did the right thing and that the current situation is just a temporary bump on the road. They need to hear an objective opinion – someone who loves them and who knows what they gain from it.
There are many ways to help your loved one go through the recovery faster and more easily. The key advice is simply to be there for them – physically and emotionally.