Instead, bring a basket (or bag) filled with hand / body wipes, hand sanitizer, pens and a notebook.
Additional items might be candy, like lollipops or chocolate or cookies for the staff. Leave in the patient’s room and be sure the staff (nurses, nurse assistants, etc) know that it’s there. They will be sure to visit more often.

Bring our Patient Safety Tips Quick Guide to help as an advocate.

  • Does the patient have a Facebook page? Print out photos of happier times

and attach to My Story Board and Message Board. Print out 'My Story Board'

and post for visitors to leave messages.

  • Bring index cards to prepare a "Care Coordination Chart" for family and friends.
  • Have a book or newspaper to read. The patient should not be expected to entertain you.
  • Bring money for food, parking or to purchase things you may need / want.
  • Bring tape to hang up cards the patient may have received (and the Story Board).

For an extensive list of what you can bring as a support person, visit the Patient Assistant list of information.

What's worked for you as a patient or visitor? Share your stories. Send to

PULSECenter for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy

How to Prepare Before Going to the Hospital