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Helping a friend with a child in intensive care(18 Posts)
Hi and thanks for reading this! My friends son is in intensive care and as I don't live close to the family I can't do useful things like taking over a casserole or walking the dog but I do want to be supportive.
She is constantly on my mind at the moment, I've been in contact every couple of days to ask how her son is & how she is. I've sent messages to let them know I'm thinking about them when I know he's got an operation / tests and if there is anything I can do but I don't want to keep pestering her. She has lots of friends / family close by and I know she must be exhausted and get fed up of relaying the same information again and again but because I'm not around, I don't want her to think that I don't care.
Does anybody have any advice on how to offer helpful and comforting support at a time like this?
If you know if there is a supermarket near to the hospital you could send them a voucher for their? Or if they are staying in hospital accommodation or have access to a microwave arrange for some decent ready meals to be delivered?
The vouchers thing is a great idea (DC in intensive care for months) - nobody thought of that! Would have been helpful. Have a google to see if there's an M&S in the hospital for example, or what is nearby. Otherwise often parents are expected to bring in things for the child depending on the age of the child like nappies, socks, etc.
Keep on messaging but make it clear you don't need a reply, just saying you're thinking of them. Or send pics from outside, or funny things (depending on the friend). I don't personally think sending meals to the hospital would be that easy because of how most hospitals are set up but they do need to eat and rest - I'd certainly send a card for their attention to the unit if necessary and a voucher card inside is a very helpful thing. You're very kind to think of this.
Lots of hospitals have a Costa or WHSmith in them (or other chains, I go to one with an M&S in), and if there is, you could send a gift card so they can have a coffee or whatever without thinking about the cost. If they are taking it in turns to be in hospital and going home, then a supermarket that is v convenient to that would make a difference.
Things we found helpful were:
- arranging food delivery / supermarket shop
- coordinating communications (we had a friend who we gave updates to, and then they shared the info with everyone else)
- gifts of food and snacks that were hospital friendly (good quality microwave food, including vegetables, snack bars, nice crisps, decent coffee etc.)
It's great that you want to help, and although it's so difficult to be worried and sitting on your hands, you're right that sometimes it can all get a bit much for the family it's happening to, so doing nothing / not being in contact for a few days can also be good as well.
Our local hospital Costa branch didn't accept gift cards; that's often suggested on here but check it out before you buy it. We were given a lot that we couldn't use.
Do you have contact details for friends/family who live nearby? Maybe someone who isn't her mum (a step removed from that) who wouldn't mind updating you to take that task from your friend for when she isn't up to it?
This person might also be able to say where your friend likes to get a local takeaway (or a good coffee etc) and maybe you could send a gift voucher so when she gets home exhausted and hungry you could buy her dinner. If you know where she does her food shopping a voucher might also an option.
It's very hard to know how to help in this kind of situation so it isn't just you. Will you be able to go for a day visit at all or are you just too far away?
Why not ask her? You could say pretty much what you've put here, that you feel that you can't be much help because you're not close but don't want her to think that you're not thinking of them or willing to do anything that she needs to help where possible. I'm sure it's the last thing on her mind at the minute and your messages probably mean a lot.
Thanks for the replies and advice, it's greatly appreciated. I was thinking of some flowers and a card but the gift cards are a good idea, I'm sure some decent coffee from a local Costa or Starbucks would be appreciated!
I've known her a long time but because I don't live near I don't know her close circle of friends, so I wouldn't know who to contact to keep me in the loop and it looks like he's got a long recovery ahead so I don't want to keep hounding her for updates every few days!
I know my friend will be putting on a very brave face and holding it together for her family. I'd travel over in a shot if she needed anything, I've let her know this but she's not the type to admit to needing anything and as they are a v close family, I don't want to impose at this moment in time.
I think small gestures are probably the way to go to let her know I'm thinking about her. Thanks again everybody for the suggestions, I've never dealt with a situation like this and the last thing I want to do is upset her, she's got enough to deal with! xx
Please no flowers. They won't be allowed in ICU and she won't be home to enjoy them. I'd send her iTunes vouchers or vouchers to download books or films. There's A LOT of hanging round in ICU. When DD1 wasn't in, we weren't allowed hot drinks so it was RedBull for caffeine and sandwiches from the shop or canteen.
We've just been there - how about a nice care package with a trashy novel, some snacks, hand cream and a little note from you saying you are there for her. Really the nicest thing is knowing that people are thinking of you.
Do you know what this might not be practical but what we really appreciated was someone coming to the hospital and meeting us im the hospital coffee shop or parents room or going off site quickly for a hot dinner and cup of tea with them. It's very lonely sitting on a ward and I know people didn't want to come and 'get in the way' but having those human faces to hug and talk to properly made a massive difference to me. So if you can visit (staying in a hotel or a day trip) and just pop in 30 mins or so do.
If you know this wouldn't be appreciated then obs discount my advice. But s human face over a coffee meant so much to me rather than a text or call. And I was stuck in hospital for 3 weeks with my lo - I needed to keep my sanity somehow!
Oh and does she have other dc? My friends bought amazing toys for my other dc when my other lo was in - to keep her occupied without mummy around - that meant a lot too.
Thank you so much everybody, all your suggestions have been helpful! I've sent her a card & voucher and when things settle down a little, I'll arrange to go over with a coffee & a hug!
You are a lovely friend - your friend is v lucky. There should be more people like you in world
Vouchers or consumables are good. We accumulated a few things whilst DD was in ICU that people had sent and getting them home became a bit of a logistical issue to us though it was very thoughtful to receive them. I couldn't communicate with everyone who sent messaged but I think people do understand - I did update on social media within reason to keep people updated though.
Just knowing so many people were thinking of us and willing DD to get through everything meant more to us than anything. I had a friend in NZ who was so supportive from so far away and for that I am very grateful.
Thank you for your lovely comment Inneedofadvice20172234, that means a lot! x
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