Up until 3 years ago, our small family had taken very few trips to the doctors, let alone the hospital. When our second daughter was born, all that changed. She has had 15 laser surgeries in the last 2 years. Last year, I was diagnosed with cancer which came with a whole host of tests and procedures. And most recently, we had a trip to the ER because my oldest broke both bones in her lower arm. Needless to say we have had more than enough “visits” to hospitals and doctors offices.
In the past whenever I have heard about someone being sick, staying over night in the hospital, or having a baby, I found myself wanting to care for them or their family in some way, although sometimes it’s hard to know what would be helpful. I can only speak from our families experiences, but here are some ideas of how to show that you care and care for others who are going through medical struggles:
- Set up a meal train if a family has just had a baby, or will be out of commission for awhile. It’s so nice to have meals arrive at your house without having to think about what to buy and how it will get prepared.
- Drop off snacks, a meal, a coffee if parents are staying with their child at a hospital.
- Text and see if you can drop off take out, a pizza, or something else at dinner time.
Cards or Notes:
- Drop off a handwritten note in the family’s mailbox. Just to know something is thinking or praying for you can mean a ton.
- Make a card or poster for kids in the hospital or kids who have been hurt. They feel so loved to receive small gifts from friends and family.
- Send a text message just saying you care.
- A dear friend dropped off a sweet plant and nail polish when she learned I had cancer. Others from out of state sent care packages with head bands, printables, lipgloss, comfy pants. Sweet reminders that we were being thought of.
- My daughter got some fun activities that she could do one handed when she broke her arm.
- Gift cards can be sweet too.
Offering your help:
- Offer to watch the children of parents in the hospital or siblings if only one child is in for a procedure.
- If the treatment is extended see if you can get a group of friends together to clean a families house, do yard work, or run errands.
Remember others in the family are going through a hard time. It’s easy to think of the “patient,” but remember that parents or siblings are also trying to figure out how to deal with the trauma, illness, or injury as well.
When in doubt, just do something small. It doesn’t need to be extravagant. It’s easy to find yourself wanting to do something for others, but not knowing what they need. My advice is just do it. Whatever you want. Families often don’t know exactly what they need when in crisis or when they are exhausted from caring for others or staying at hospitals. Extend kindness! It can’t hurt.