Gift Baskets for Families in the Hospital
The idea for this web page came from the following post:
"I received a call from our hospital and they want opinions or suggestions on what to put in newly diagnosed family gift baskets."
Another parent chimed in saying why these gift baskets are so necessary:
"Like so many of us who thought that we were going to a routine doctor's appointment and wound up going directly to the hospital for admission, we were then stuck -- probably in a city some distance from home -- without anything, not to mention being in shock."
The following lists are summaries of ideas of what to put in these baskets. Funding ideas are at the bottom.
- a tooth brush and tooth paste
- shampoo and hand cream
- small box tissues
- hand cream
- Tylenol (adult)
- sanitary pads
- mints, gum, instant breakfast, calming herb tea, chocolate
- trial size antibacterial hand gels
- travel size antibacterial wipes ("for wiping off the shopping cart when your child's counts are well enough to go out")
- digital thermometer
- a journal for parents to record experiences or medical information
- note cards/writing tablets/envelopes/stamps/several pens
- crayons/coloring book/drawing pad/stickers/book/small kids games
- blanket/tee shirt/hat
- slippers/soft socks
- coffee mug ("moms especially told us that they hated drinking coffee out of paper cups, so we have included a coffee mug -- one that is attractive and has the Parent Advocate phone number on it")
- soft music audio tape
- wonderful body refreshing spray - purse size (nice fresh scents)
- complimentary cafeteria and/or parking tickets? Gift certificate from hospital gift shop
- cafeteria and free parking vouchers
- a list of nearby restaurants, pizza delivery number, etc. - with those that will deliver.
- "We also made a chart of where to find everything in the hospital, on the floor, where the linens can be found and how to use the fold out beds, etc. We also mapped out a course around the hospital, that can be used for a walk, that provides exercise off the floor."
- prepaid phone card
- a list of other parents that have said "give them my number if they have any questions"
- lists of phone numbers and www sites for all sorts of support
- an invitation to join an online list like our for the appropriate type of cancer
Many hospitals have pamphletsbooklets on childhood cancer and/or specific cancers and concerns such as eating problems and school problems. A book about a specific type of cancer might be a nice item to include, but there are several factors to consider if you wish to include one: cost, only some parents would get the book because of type of cancer and language, not every is in a position to read a huge book, no matter how interesting or informative and at the beginning parents are too stressed to make a decision about whether they want a book like that or not. An alternative is to have many copies of the books that seem to be the most beneficial to parents or most frequently used and offer them to parents to keep however long they want or permanently if they desire. Therefore, the following are perhaps the best answers to books in the basket:
- a sample or list of books available at the hospital library, pamphlets from the leukemia/other society on childhood cancer concerns
- Childhood Leukemia or Solid Tumors book as applicable
Funding of the gift baskets
All this can add up to a bit of money. Jan had some very good ideas on how to raise money for the baskets.
"To fund our gift baskets, we had small fund raisers. Several business in our area donated small sums of money ($250 - $500) We wrote letters and then followed up with a visit. Remember, most people will be charitable when we are talking about helping people with a sick child. Also, we have a committee of mothers who volunteer to solicit donations. We then divide up families, so we all have two or three families we visit on diagnosis and then continue to keep in touch with throughout treatment. We write a short newsletter and make every attempt we can to keep a link going for everyone during this horrific ordeal. I organized a fund raiser through Metropolitan Insurance Company. We raised $1500 for prepaid telephone cards, and they have agreed to continue to support or cause. We have a cosmetic company not far from here, so we approached them to donate or provide at reduced cost, items that would be useful to folks who have long hospital stays."
More ideas to help families in the hospital
"In addition to the gift baskets, I have developed an audio library. Because adults are often awake later than the children, and the lights have to be out, we decided that tape players and audio books will provide a form of entertainment, and everybody loves the idea. It's a very popular addition to the inpatient floor. We also have a craft collection. We had hobby shops and craft stores put together craft kits that can be easily used by persons sitting in a hospital room. Essentially, they are kits that are compact and include all of the necessary materials and tools to complete the project in a relatively brief time frame." (Jan)
These pages are intended for informational purposes only and are not intended to render medical advice. The information provided on Ped Onc Resource Center should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you suspect your child has a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.