3 Dos & Don’ts of Sending Gifts to Hospital Patients

When a friend, family member, or business associate find themselves in the hospital, many of us want to wish them “get well” or “congratulations” (if it’s giving birth) to lift their spirits. That said, sending a gift to a hospital patient is not just as easy as putting their name with the name of the hospital on a package and clicking “order”. Here are our top 3 “dos” and “don’ts” to keep in mind when sending your well-wishes.

1.DO Know the Address…PLUS.

This sounds obvious, right?  Unfortunately, it is a common occurrence that gifts are sent and never reach the patient! The majority of the time, the culprit is usually an incorrectly addressed package.  Many hospitals require a building name or other information listed in the address such as the patient’s name, the patient’s room number, and the department.  The best thing to do is to check the hospital’s website for delivery instructions and/or call the hospital. 

**Be sure your recipient is still a patient!  The main reason hospital gifts are not received is due to the gift arriving on the same day the patient is discharged.  When a package arrives the same day a patient is discharged, the gift often fails to be delivered at all!

2. DON’T Expect Delivery Directly to The Patient’s Room

What do UPS, FedEx, and US Postal Service all have in common?  None of them can deliver packages directly to a patient’s room.  Packages will be delivered to the hospital’s mail room or reception desk and hospital staff are responsible for delivering the gifts to patients from there.   This is something your seller has no control over and is a policy in place for security and personal confidentiality reasons.  That means you may order 2-day delivery on Monday delivery is completed to the hospital on Wednesday, but it could take longer to reach your recipient from there.   Perishable items may spoil and given there can be a delay in delivery to the patient once it reaches the hospital, two-day or overnight shipping always the best option for perishable food items.  Try to avoid sending chocolate gifts until after the patient is discharged to avoid a melted mess. 

3. DO Double-Check For Hospital & Dietary Restrictions

You may know your friend or loved one’s dietary restrictions outside of a hospital environment, but oftentimes doctors will order special diets for patients.  Common restrictions include limitations of meat, egg yolks, whole milk and saturated fats.   This makes a fruit basket a pretty safe and healthy gift option for a patient.  When in doubt, contact the hospital’s nutrition services department for guidance.

Not only do patients have restrictions, but hospitals do too.  Patients in ICU, Pediatric Care, and Labor and Delivery Units are typically restricted from receiving flower or plant gifts so check the hospital gift policies before buying that gift.  Be sure to check the hospital’s website or call them for their gift policies. 

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