gift ideas for someone in the hospital

47 Thoughtful Gift Ideas For Someone In The Hospital

It’s a great feeling to bring a thoughtful gift when a relative or friend is in the hospital. It shows compassion which is what they probably need right now. After all, being alone in the hospital or being left bedridden at home after surgery can be tough.

Even when someone isn’t admitted for a serious condition, surgery or admission commonly drains the patient physically and emotionally. By showing your spouse, family member, friend, co-worker or acquaintance you care, you are essentially sharing in the other’s suffering.

Bringing a present comforts and strengthens the patient and thus, can help them heal. That’s why we composed this extensive list of useful and thoughtful hospital recovery gift ideas.

Boredom busters

time killing gifts

this one person game makes a great gift for someone in the hospital
mentally stimulating games such as Kanoodle can be an excellent cure for boredom

Beyond pain and discomfort, surgery patients are likely to suffer from boredom. Being confined to a bed may make someone increasingly restless. For this reason, they will be particularly appreciative of gifts that let them kill time. Here are a few ideas on what to give them to bring some joy in these dull times.

Video. Watching entertaining content on a screen is a passive activity that’s especially suitable for when the patient can’t do much else yet. When they’re on the IC, still groggy from anesthesia shortly after an operation passive entertainment is best. Ideas include; DVD sets so they can binge watch series and on demand video services.

Books, both in their classic paper form as well as digital e-books are pretty much always a winner. Except perhaps for those patients who had eye surgery. But then audio books are great gifts.

  • At any rate, romance and mystery novels are offer light reading which can be helpful during post-op situations. Check out Amazon’s best selling books list.

Puzzles and small board games. Find out if they enjoy games like Sudoku and crosswords puzzles. Mentally stimulating games are an excellent cure for boredom that can help speed recovery as well as tire the patient out a bit so they’ll sleep better at night. For more inspiration see this overview of popular board games for one player.

Crossword puzzle books are the gold standard when it comes to frittering away time. This book has 200 moderate to hard crosswords.

Video games. For children, teens, and older gamers who are confined to bed, video games may be an excellent gift idea. Here an overview of the best selling video games of this moment.

A quality set of headphones allows them to enjoy music, video, or games without disturbing other patients in the room. Keep in mind that wireless headphones use may be limited to lounges, waiting areas, and cafeterias as electromagnetic emissions from wireless devices could cause interference with medical equipment.

Another useful gift to kill the time, an iTunes or Amazon get well gift card so the patient can order something themselves which involves the joy of scouring the web for a present.

Calming & relaxation gifts

let freaking stressed & mildly anxious patients chill out

electric eye massager makes great hospital gift

Being hospitalized involves both physical and mental stress. The latter from being in a different environment, taking medications, experiencing pain, and uncertainty about the recovery.

Being bedridden can not only cause massive amounts of boredom but also a feeling of unrest. The restricted movement from bruises and surgery wounds.

Not to mention the mind numbing boredom of staying in the same room, on the same bed for days can cause a nervous or agitated feeling.

For such situations calming gifts are a great idea. They also help when someone has trouble sleeping after surgery or when they are still in the critical care unit. Here are some of the best gifts that provide relaxation in the hospital bed.


Popular gift ideas for a patient in the hospital are lavender eye pillows such as the DreamTime Inner Peace Eye Pillow. Also known as dream pillows, these mask shaped or rectangular pouches filled with (scented) herbs relax and alleviate stress. (Research shows lavender soothes the nervous system and helps you sleep) These pampering pillows are commonly used during yoga or meditation too.

A therapeutic head scratcher. You probably seen it before, that corny looking thing that looks like a whisk opened up at one end and is placed on ones head. But did you know this simple gadget actually works pretty well? This scalp massager actually relieves tension and reduces stress. It stimulates nerve endings and acupressure points on the scalp.

Alternatively you could opt for a motorized hand-held massage gun. Some models are even advertised to assist in easing pain and have anecdotally shown to enhance recovery after surgery. Keep in mind that devices may put out very strong percussive motion (hammering or pounding) massage which might be too strong for the patient. In such cases it’s probably best to opt for a massager that exclusively works via vibration or a rubbing motion.

A meditation smartphone app. With seas of time it could be nice to dream off into a world outside the clinic. No better time to start meditating than when you can’t really go anywhere or do anything anyway.

This electric eye massager with air pressure vibration and heat compress might just be what the patient needs. What makes it even better, it’s got built-in speakers so they can shut off from their environment to fully emerge in a relaxing massage.

  • Other eye-massaging masks are generally designed to relieve headaches and reduce eye bags, dark circles and wrinkles but if you are forced to stay in bed, you’ll have to entertain yourself, right? As a bonus you may even end up with less wrinkles too.


Himalayan pink salt lamps are great gifts for post-surgery patients because they emit a soothing, gentle light that offers a relaxing atmosphere without disturbing potential room mates. A HPL lamp might make one think of home which can be a nice distraction from the sterile hospital environment with its harsh light, monitors and machines.

Hot & cold lavender eye pillows not only block out the light which helps with taking daytime naps but also soothe tired skin and emit a scent that is proven to aid wellness and relaxation. Lavender-scented aromatherapy eye pillows might even alleviate mild pain. These great gifts can support doing meditation or yoga (as far as this is possible in the hospital (bed)). Thus they can make the patient less tense or anxious.

Calming lights can provide a ton of distraction and relaxation, thus emotional relief.  They come in all kinds. The SOAIY lamp, for instance, projects various light shows such as the nebular light on a wall or hospital room curtain.

Essential oil diffusers can make thoughtful post-surgery presents if a few requirements are met. Not all hospitals allow the use of essential oil diffusers as they need to be disinfected thoroughly and if not, they might “put patients at risk for waterborne infections with pathogens such as Legionella”.

  • Fan diffusers with pads, however, don’t use water, thus involve no risk regarding waterborne pathogens. Make sure to opt for a waterless nebulizing diffuser to reap the benefits of aromatherapy while avoiding the patient not being allowed to use it in a hospital setting.

Calming aromatherapy scents. Calming scents are lavender, chamomile, sandalwood, mandarin, and bergamot. If you want to be considerate and don’t want to let the others in the room be obligated to enjoy your favorite aromatherapy scents, or if they’re prohibited, you could put some drops on a handkerchief instead of using an essential oil diffuser. Alternatively you could opt for aromatherapy oil roll-ons or spritzers.

Similar gift ideas designed to relieve pain and alleviate stiffness and fatigue include; the Herbal Hug, relaxation wraps, and for the younger patients, lavender scented plush toys.


Mood boosters

uplifting post-op gifts

GiftTree Get Well Grand Reception Gift Basket

Staying in the hospital that can suck the positivity out of you. Seemingly small things like the soreness of laying in one spot for days on end can become major issues.

Give the patient flowers or a plant to look at. Click here to send flowers to the hospital. Amazon offers free delivery to send flowers with Prime. Researchers found that just glancing at shades of green can boost creativity and motivation. The color green links evolutionary with food-bearing vegetation, which we associate with nourishment.

  • This could partly explain why window views of landscapes can speed patient recovery in hospitals. Flowers may seem like a hackneyed gift item but they are a biggie since the presence of plants in patient recovery rooms greatly reduces the time necessary to heal.

Get well gift baskets or post care packages are always a great gift. (Check out the fun and games gift basket and many other themed gift baskets.)

Flowers help keep an optimistic outlook on your life. They bring pleasure and, as studies demonstrate, increase your perceived happiness.


Pain killers

post surgery gifts that help reduce pain


Commonly the hospitalized are in a lot of pain or discomfort and their movement will be restricted due to incisions, cuts, or bruises from the surgery.

Swelling, incision wounds, scar tissue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea don’t make life in the hospital any more pleasant.

Wouldn’t it be great to give a gift that reduces their pain? A great, science-backed idea is to gift something that makes the person in the hospital laugh. Because, laughter truly is the best medicine.

The golden olden cherry pit pillow helps relieve pains and aches. Great for relieving aching muscles, stomach or back problems. It molds to your body so it is great for providing support during the cumbersome recovery period too. However, the heat dissipates rather quickly and you’ll have to use a microwave oven in the hospital to heat it.

One-click heating pads make for a great alternative that doesn’t require warming up by an external source. You’ll get instant hot or cold therapy by simply clicking a button on the pack making them ideal for people who are bed ridden.

It’s almost as if Wreck this Journal: Now in Color was made for the more challenging and boring hospital moments. After all, being admitted in the hospital is often an emotional experience and journaling in general is an effective way to deal with difficult periods in one’s life. On top of that, journaling is actually healthy. Writing down thoughts helps people feel better both physically as well as mentally. This unique journal adds more to the mix as it let’s people who are going through a stressful time blow off steam in a creative way. It provides moments of fun by inviting the user to release their inner child.

Viewing comedy leads to higher pain tolerance

Did you know….  that practitioners of certain martial arts learn to grin while fighting to better endure pain. Studies show that laughter releases pain-killing and euphoria-producing endorphins in the brain.

Comedy videos make great surgery recovery gifts. Taste varies from person to person but whether someone likes Bill Burr, Louis CK, Richard Prior, Kevin Hart, or Monty Python, (stand-up) comedy makes on of the best gifts to give someone who is hospitalized or just discharged. If they are not able to watch a Blu-ray, DVD, or Amazon Prime Video you could give a comedy audio book or CD instead.

  • Did you know Amazon Prime now has a free 30-day trial? With Prime you have access to unlimited instant streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows and you can read thousands of free books.

Funny (comic) books. Again tastes differ so make sure to know if someone likes Dilbert, Garfield, Ron Burgundy’s book, or maybe a funny jokes book. Alternatively they might like some of these Audible audio books by comedians.


It is a fact that laughing reduces pain and helps heal. Studies demonstrate that…

Watching comedy videos has been shown to decrease hospital patients’ need for opioid painkillers


Practical hospital gifts

how can faster, safer, more convenient recovery ever be boring?

Practical post-surgery gift ideas

Here are some additional ideas on what to pick out exactly what you know your loved one needs.

A list of post surgery gifts that can help ease the pain and fight the boredom of your loved ones in the hospital.

The first thing you may want to include in your care package are items to lessen their pain. Cool packs are great for alleviating swelling or pain. In a hospital these may already be provided so it is wise to call and check before going out and buying ice packs.

Heat packs can be very soothing to sore muscles and tissue. The problem with both cool and heat packs is that they can be difficult to keep attached. You have to sit completely still and hold it yourself and even then they tend to slip away. A great solution to this issue are hot and cold gel wraps. Reduce swelling, fever and pain without having to pay attention to keeping the pack in place. Often you can use one of the microwaves in the hospital to warm up the pack.

A long reach grabber tool is one of the most thoughtful, practical post surgery gifts you can get someone. Sitting upright, turning and twisting their body after an operation hurts. A pick up tool can help the patient pick up things around them. Get their remote control from the nightstand, that magazine from the end of the bed.

  • When they are discharged from the hospital, a long reacher such as the RMS Grabber Reacher will help them be much more independent too. The RMS features a cleverly designed trigger that allows even those with weak hands to have a strong grip. Simple things, from picking up their medications or keys that just dropped to getting something from the top shelf, become fairly easy instead of problems for which they need to ask someone else to solve.


A folding bed tray can make life in the hospital so much more pleasant and productive as well. It allows the patient to use their laptop, read a book, play a small board game much more conveniently. This collapsible, space-saving lap desk with extra storage also makes it easy to keep one’s stuff organized while hospitalized. No need to reach over or wait till you ask the nurse to reach the bedside cabinet drawer.

Getting up, out of bed, walking around the hospital is often encouraged as it’s beneficial to a fast recovery. Gift the patient a walker or cane. Walking sticks or crutches might not be provided by the hospital. And when the patient is back home it’s still great to have some support while walking. You could also hunt at your local Goodwill for a fashionable adorned cane.

Another thoughtful gift idea, a lumbar support pillow and abdominal support binder. This is important as being confined to a bed can be detrimental to back health and these sorts of pillows help to mitigate those health problems drastically.

A long-handled, pivoting lotion applicator could bring that very welcome extra bit of nourishment to the hospital bed. For instance when the patient developed a rash due to an allergic reaction to medication which is quite common in hospitals. Or in case they underwent radiotherapy treatment, which may cause burns on their back, they”ll want to apply lotion without having to struggle. Applying lotion to painful skin or a scar cream on healed incisions can make a huge difference in perceived wellbeing. Not only because it soothes but also because the patient is taking part of their recovery in their own hands.

Playing card holders are a great idea for card game players who have arthritis in their hands, hand injury, or numbness, tingling, or pain in the hands or fingers. Inviting other patients to play a game increases social contact during the stay.

An extra long phone charging cable while confined to a hospital bed can be a huge source of convenience and comfort. Let them stay in contact with loved ones due to a direct link with their normal lives. Standard phone charging cables are way too short forcing the patient to reach over with a sore body to keep the phone plugged in is something that obviously should be avoided.

A procedure-specific post surgery pillow. Whether they had a dental, cosmetic, or medical procedure done, a specifically designed pillow that accommodates their recovery can be a huge support. They will rest more, wake up pain free, wounds will heal faster, and their overall post op experience will be more pleasant.

A reading pillow (bed rest pillow or backrest) can also be a huge help in overcoming the time in the hospital. Especially for those who ‘survive on books’ or who can’t do without their laptop. For those with back problems they will come in handy when back at home too. Here are the most popular reading pillows on Amazon.

Stiff joints, aching bones, and sore muscles are part and parcel of surgery recovery. Massage is a science-backed way of boosting post-op recovery. Give the patient an appointment at an massage therapist. Or, more convenient as their mobility is probably still limited, get them an electric self massage device. It will make recovery easier and offers pain relief.

Another thoughtful gift idea: a scar tissue massage tool. This tool might help to lessen the visibility of scars as scar tissue massage is thought to enhance scar healing.

Nobody likes scars but for some people the scars as a result of surgical incisions can be a tremendous issue. Silicone scar sheets have been proven to reduce scarring. They are in fact the only product that actually works, to a degree. Silicone gel sheeting is the clinical gold standard when it comes to treating, especially, surgical scars. Silicone scar products come in creams (gels) and gel sheets. The latter seem to be more effective. Silicone scar sheets help prevent discolored, out of their boundaries growing scars (keloids) form. They also reduce redness and make raised scar tissue softer and flat.

  • One of the most popular brands is ScarAway. I have used them myself after my surgery and they really live up to their promise.

While lying in one position annoying itches can develop. This is why a telescopic back scratcher will also make a great gift in this situation.

Other wearable gifts to help aid in comfort include soft t-shirts, over-sized soft pajamas with drawstrings instead of elastic waistbands, track suits, and large comfortable yoga pants.

A soft blanket is also often a welcomed gift, especially for during the recovery period at home. Similarly, satin bed sheets do not only feel very soothing to a battered body’s skin, they also help the patient slide in and out of bed much easier because they are so smooth.

A chapstick is great option for a gift due to the fact many hospitals have dry air from the air conditioning.

When it is time for your loved one or friend to go home there are a few more gift ideas. One is a squishy toy they can place between the abdomen and seat belt if they have scarring or bruising in that area.

Immobility and a dry mouth as a result of medication may cause a bad taste. Chewing gum with xylitol stimulates saliva flow and protects against cavities. A box of peppermints on the nightstand is a welcome gift for those who don’t suffer from a dry mouth.

Also, check to see if they have cable at their home. If not a thoughtful gift may be providing them with HBO, Hulu, Fox, or AMC for the month they are recovering.

If they live alone their house may get messy while they are recovering so hiring a house cleaner is an excellent gesture.

Providing healthy snacks or a grocery delivery service is a great option too as they will not be able to do their own grocery shopping for a while depending on the severity of their injury. Consider snacks that contain anti-inflammatory nutrients.

A particular surgery specific gift can be a good idea as understanding can help us heal. Books on their particular procedure for instance, such as the Cook Book for the Gastric Bypass Patient.  Or The Cardiac Recovery Handbook or the Shoulder Surgery Recovery just to name a few.


What is your favorite gift for someone who is in the hospital?


Personally, I like to give something that makes the other laugh. Charlie Chaplin already said it:

Laughter is the tonic, the relief, the surcease for pain.

We trust you now have a wide array of ideas for a care package, gift basket or gift for someone in the hospital thus boosting patient satisfaction. Tailoring it to your friend’s or loved one’s needs, as well as adding a personal touch are ways to make your present even more thoughtful.

Let us know what  you think below.


Last Updated on April 13, 2020 by Tyler