Photo by Darren Hester www.DarrenHester.com
Consider music. There may be a radio channel on the television in the hospital room, but it may be difficult to find or may not play music soothing to the patient. Caregivers can bring the right sounds from home. Pick up an inexpensive portable CD player or bring one from home. Make sure you label it with your or the patient's name and address. Bring a few CD's from your loved one's collection. Label those too and make note of what ones were brought. Don't know what he or she likes? That's a great conversation starter. Talk about concerts and dances attended in the past. Talk about favorite movies - perhaps you can find a soundtrack. It's quite likely that the music you find calming, energizing, or comforting is not the same kind your beloved patient will. This gives you positive, non-health related topcis of conversation - another reprieve from the hospital stay. The same applies to movies and television shows. Some hospital rooms have televisions with DVD players. Does Grandma love "The Andy Griffith Show" - bring a DVD with several episodes.
Proactive step: Try asking your parent or aging loved one about their music and movie likes/dislikes before any kind of medical crisis. Take notes. This becomes helpful for birthday/holiday gifts but can provide valuable clues to what may bring peace and comfort. If you know you are likely to be dealing with multiple hospital/care facility stays, keep a stash of CD's and a CD player with the bag of supplies you have tucked away for just those times.
Note of Caution: With so many staff and visitors in a hospital, items from home can disappear. Don't invest too much in anything you bring to leave in a patient's hospital room. Labeling helps, but is no guarantee.