Some of my most comforting times were when people just shared space with me. Every time I was hospitalized, a dear friend would bring all her “gadgets” – cell phone, laptop, etc. – and work from my hospital room. Sometimes staying an hour or more, often not speaking but just sitting with me and working from her laptop, she simply shared space and her love.
If you cannot sit and work with your friend or loved one, here are some other tips that are actually useful to a patient:
Tip 1: A good way to get involved is to find out when a patient is going to an appointment or having treatment and then be there for them. Literally, sit in the waiting room until they are called to see their doctor or have their treatment. Sometimes this is five minutes, other times it’s an hour, (we all know how boring the waiting room is).
Tips 2: Set up a meal delivery chain through mutual friends. A helpful website to organize meals is www.mealtrain.com.
Tip 3: Check to make sure the patient has adequate transportation to and from appointments and treatment. Most times following treatment patient’s either do not feel up to driving or are physically incapable.
Tip 4: It is very helpful to have someone clean the house, if even just the kitchen and bathroom. It is doubly hard to be sick in a dirty environment and there is no real way a patient can or should be cleaning house during their treatment – unless of course they want to and are up to it.
Tip 5: Keep the caregiver in mind. Relieving the caregiver can rejuvenate both the patient and the caregiver. Sit with the patient long enough for the caregiver to go get a cup of coffee, run some errands or take a well-deserved walk. The caregivers give everything they can and are often overlooked when it comes to their emotional and physical needs.