Helping a relative or friend in hospital

What to expect when you have a relative or friend in hospital:

Things to bring in : 

During a patient stay in hospital it is important to maintain a daily routine as much as possible. This includes patients getting out of bed, wearing their own clothes and having access to personal belongings.

If you currently have a relative or friend in hospital, you can help support their rehabilitation and recovery by providing necessary items for their hospital stay:

  • Telling staff on the ward how your friend or relative normally carries out their everyday activities and what matter’s to them is very useful to help their recovery
  • Day clothes i.e. T- shirts, trousers, skirts, jumpers
  • Night clothes i.e. Pyjamas, dressing gowns
  • Underwear i.e. Pants, knickers, socks
  • Appropriate footwear i.e. Well-fitting shoes and slippers with good grip
  • The walking aid they would normally use at home
  • Wash bags i.e. Face cloth, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hairbrush, sanitary items
  • Communication Aids i.e. Hearing aids, glasses, magnifying glass, false teeth.
  • Things to pass the time i.e. Books, magazines, colouring, electronic devices such as tablets and mobile phones – if they would normally use one at home. 

Rehabilitation and recovery :

In any hospital ward, seeing a therapist (Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist, Speech therapist, dietician) is only part of a patients rehabilitation. Rehabilitation can happen all of the time, which will help your relative or friend to recover more quickly and be discharged home sooner.

Things like getting themselves washed and dressed as they are able, or with assistance if needed, sitting out of bed in the day or in the day room if available, getting up and walking around regularly with assistance or independently when safe, and carrying out any exercises that they have been advised. 

Using a rehabilitation diary to allow them to track their progress can be a helpful tool :

Rehabilitation diary example

If you are their next of kin, you may be contacted by a therapist on the ward and asked questions about how your relative would normally manage at home. This includes what type of property they live in, activities of daily living such as washing and dressing, domestic tasks and how they would normally move around.

Discharge home:

Once your friend or relative is ready for discharge, they would have been assessed as to whether they need any additional rehabilitation or support at home. 

Services they may have been referred to include: a long term care package, community resource team (CRT), out-patient services.

Once at home it is important that your friend or relative keeps active to help with their recovery, whether this is activities based in and around the home, or joining community groups and leisure facilities, there are links to services and information that can help with this, on this page. 

Visiting :

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic our hospitals visiting policies have changed. 

For further information please see our main hospital site.

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