Instead, bring a basket (or bag) filled with hand / body wipes, hand sanitizer, pens and a notebook.
Additional items might be individually wrapped treats, like lollipops or a box of 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. To receive a copy of your Quick Guide brochure, send a self addressed stamped envelope to Pulse CPSEA PO Box 353 Wantagh, NY 11793-0353.

  • Does the patient have a Facebook page? Print out photos of happier times and attach photos to My Story Board and Message Board, or hang where the patient, visitors and staff can see.
  • Print out 'My Story Board' and "Visitors Message Board" and post for visitors to leave messages.
  • Don't forget a phone charger, your own snacks, and wear comfortable clothing.
  • 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

How to Prepare Before Going to the Hospital (For the Advocate)

PULSECenter for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy