So, your BFF, uncle, cousin, grandma, etc. gets admitted to the hospital and you want to bring something when you visit. So what do you bring?
I bet anything you would get one of these three things: balloons, some flowers, or an Edible Arrangement.
If your friend/family is in the intensive care unit, typically they cannot enjoy their flowers. Some hospitals don’t allow balloons. And a lot of people cannot have the chocolate-covered fruit that comes with an Edible Arrangement.
Well, ladies and gents.. here is my nursey idea to surprise your hospitalized loved one: a gift basket full of things that’ll make their stay a little easier. They’ll be so thankful for your thoughtfulness and secretly glad they don’t have to find space for another balloon or flower arrangement.
To get my bag of goodies, I went to CVS. CVS recently decided to stop selling tobacco products and I try to give them my business as often as possible. I feel it is my nursey duty to do so. I highly respect the decision and pray others will follow suit. You could go to Walgreens, Rite-Aid, Target, etc. to get similar items but I just chose CVS because of their recent awesomeness.
Just to compare, the cheapest Edible Arrangement is $29 for 12 pieces of fruit before delivery/tax. The cheapest floral arrangement or balloon bouquets at my local grocery store is $29 before delivery/tax.
My hospital goodie bag cost a total of $27.67 after tax
(Note: I did not receive any compensation from anyone for this.. I just want your loved ones to have some great stuff whilst recovering!)
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Alright, let me explain my choices.
- Wide-toothed Comb for $2.99. No one ever has a a comb. And the hospital ones just aren’t the same. The don’t stand a chance against tangley hair. Patients can’t really wash their hair well so it’s inevitably tangley. This will keep their hair manageable and they can toss it when they’re discharged and not feel bad about it.
Another option: a bottle of detangler. Many times a family has had to run out to the store to grab some because no one ever thinks they’ll need it until they sit down to try to run a comb through their painfully tangled hair.
- Burt’s Bees Hydrating Lip Balm for $3.29. Everyone’s lips are always dry. Hospital air is dry. The hospital lip ointment just doesn’t compare to some real legit lip balm.
Note: many times a patient has lost their precious lip balm in their bed and we spend a solid 10 minutes searching for it because they want it so bad.
- CVS Sensitive Cleansing Wipes for $4.19. Ok, let’s get a little technical here. If your loved one is in bed, their ability to get all situated down south isn’t what it usually is. These wipes are glorious for patients and can make them feel so fresh and so clean-clean in no time. However, an important thing to do is to get aloe-free wipes. Aloe harbors bacteria. This normally isn’t a problem, but if your loved one has a urinary catheter in place, it can mean the difference between getting a UTI and not. I had to look around a bit for aloe-free wipes, so make sure to look at the ingredient list. However, if you’re buying this for someone you don’t know that well and it’d be awkward to give them something like this, skip this product and grab something else!
- Suave Advanced Therapy Lotion for $3.59. Again, hospital lotion is okay but this stuff makes you feel like you’re at home. Again, get aloe-free stuff. I had to look at ingredient lists because about half of the lotions contained aloe.
- Just the Basics Facial Towelettes for $2.99. Rarely can patients walk to the bathroom and wash their face like they do at home. You feel so normal with a clean face. This will make it essentially effortless and then they can put some of your Suave lotion on after and feel like a million bucks.
- Travel-Sized Dove Deodorant for $1.27. It’s nice a small so they can toss it when they get discharged. After getting washed up, throwing on some real deodorant is the last step to almost feeling normal. Patients LOVE real deodorant from home. And it smells fantastic.
- Febreze for $4.49. Hospital rooms are a small, enclosed space with windows that don’t open. Patient bathrooms are much, much smaller. This means that unless someone sprays something, your room and/or bathroom will smell like poop for a while after you go. And it may linger out into the hallway. And you don’t want to smell that and you definitely don’t want your visitors to smell that either. Febreze is a glorious, glorious gift.
Another option: if you want to tell your nursing staff thanks, Febreze is a wonderful gift for the unit because we have to pay for it out of our own pockets. And, like deodorant, the hospital deodorizer is nothing compared to bottle of real Febreze.
- Reusable CVS bag for $2.99. When transferring from room to room, they can throw their stuff in this. When getting discharged they can use it instead of a patient belongings bag, which is just a thin plastic bag. When they get home, they can use it for a number of things. Bonus: when it’s not being used while they’re still in the hospital, it takes up very little space.
- Quick and healthy prepackaged snacks
- Nice shaving stuff. The hospital has some, but the stuff from home is the best. You can get some nice disposable razors and some high quality shaving cream. Speaking as someone who has shaved the faces of many who were not able to do this for themselves, the nice brands make a difference!
- iTunes gift card. Many people play on their computer or iPad/iPhone to pass the time. Give them the gift of entertainment!
- Dry shampoo for those that cannot shower
- Nice toothpaste and a good toothbrush
Sooo.. what do you guys think? Do any health care workers have some awesome ideas? Do any former patients and/or loved ones have any suggestions of what would have made things easier or something someone brought you that made a big difference in your stay?