15 Gifts and Ideas to Help a Patient Recover After Surgery

I’m recovering from orthopedic surgery; this gift list includes everything I needed to help me heal. I also found a doctor’s post-surgery suggestions recovery. No matter what type of surgery your patient underwent, you’ll find something to help with healing on this gift list.

gifts to help someone recover after surgery

Grabber – Post-Surgery Gift Idea

The Nifty Nabber Pick-Up Tool with Aluminum Handle is a great gift idea! After surgery, patients can’t move very well. Turning and twisting is out of the question while healing. A simple grabber can help patients pick up items off the floor and at the end of the bed – or even open their mini fridge and grab a soda pop! When the patient can move around easier, the grabber will help them reach for things from an upper shelf or cupboard. A grabber isn’t the most beautiful gift for patients, but it’s incredibly helpful for post-surgery healing. Wrapping a ribbon or bow around this gift will make it pretty as well as practical. You might even attach a bell to it, so your patient can ring for you when he or she needs a hand.  🙂

The following surgery gift ideas for people healing from surgery aren’t glamorous, but they are practical and helpful. They are for patients who’ve been discharged after complicated and intense surgeries, such as bone, back, and brain operations. If you’re looking for gift ideas for chemotherapy or breast cancer survivors, read 17 Gift Ideas for Women After Breast Cancer Surgery.

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I had bone surgery seven weeks ago, and I’m still in pain. Aching bones, stiff joints, and sore muscles are the worst parts of recovering from surgery; a practical gift is a gentle massage. You don’t necessarily have to pay for a massage therapist, though it does depend on the state of your patient. Any gift that helps ease pain and soreness after surgery is amazing – including gifts that distract patients!

As with any gift, you need to take your patient’s personality, lifestyle, interests and passions into consideration. You might also ask the patient what he or she needs or wants to help with recovery. Surgery is a huge health trauma, and it can take weeks or even months to heal. Everyone needs the gift of encouragement after surgery, so don’t stop checking in on your patient.

Post-Surgery Ideas and Gifts for Healing

This list of gifts doesn’t include magazines, books, or funny movies to help patients heal because those are the tried-and-true ideas. Nor do they include bouquets of flowers, chocolates, or gift baskets – though those can be good gifts for post-surgery healing and recovery. I wanted to go beyond the typical “get well soon” gift ideas, and help patients heal from serious surgeries.

A neck pillow

Gift Ideas to Help a Patient Recover After Surgery

Neck Pillow Gift After Surgery

I didn’t get a Neck and Chin Supporting Travel Pillow until three weeks post-surgery, and I wish the hospital had sent it home with me! I had to sleep sitting up for three weeks, and it wasn’t just uncomfortable. It was painful, and it never occurred to me to get a neck and chin pillow.

A pillow to help me sleep sitting up would’ve been an amazing gift after surgery. I have one now, and use it when my shoulder screams in pain at night (though that happens less and less often now). The great thing about this gift is that your patient can use it for other reasons, such as travel or beach visits.

A Mini Fridge to make post surgery healing more convenient

gifts for recovery after surgery A Mini Fridge for ice, water, and juice is a thoughtful, practical post-operative recovery gift. Whether the patient is healing from a mastectomy or a spine fusion, a tonsilectomy or a laparoscopy, she can’t get out of bed and run up and down the stairs during recovery.

A mini-fridge by the bed allows for a stockpile of ice packs, water, juice, snacks, and other essentials for the day. The one in the picture doesn’t have a freezer, but I’d love to have a freezer in the same room as me. My ice packs – which reduce swelling after surgery – melted fast. It’s a long trek to the freezer in the kitchen.

Speaking of ice packs, you might consider getting a Reusable Hot and Cold Therapy Gel Wrap that adheres to the patient’s sore parts. My ice pack kept slipping from my shoulder to my arm. I actually didn’t know that you could get wraps that stay in place! This discovery would’ve made all the difference in the world, which makes it an excellent gift for healing after surgery.

Grocery, gas, or Amazon gift cards

An Amazon Gift Card is a good post surgery gift idea because patients can’t leave home to go shopping for groceries, toiletries, or other necessary items. This gift doesn’t focus on helping a patient heal from surgery as much as help ease the stress of being off work and not having an income.

People recovering from back surgery may not be able to go back to work for awhile, and may struggle financially. Not to mention the bills from the hospital, pharmacy, doctor’s office or other medical suppliers! A practical gift card – not one from Starbucks or iTunes – can help ease the financial pressure of healing from surgery.

A memory foam gift for post operation sleep

post surgery gift ideas A Shredded Memory Foam Pillow with Bamboo Cover by Coop Home Goods – Made in the USA  is a custom pillow that will meet post-surgery needs. It’s an even better gift than the neck pillow because it’ll mold to the patient’s head, neck and shoulders. This makes it effective for all sleep positions, which is crucial for post-operative healing.

This pillow also allows for greater ventilation and promotes proper alignment for deeper sleep through the night. Believe me, sleep is the most precious gift you can give a patient after surgery. Good sleep doesn’t just help patients recover, it also improves mood, energy, and spirits.

Help sleeping after surgery

sleep post op surgery giftSleep is one of the most important gifts a post-surgery patient could ever receive. If a pillow isn’t the right gift, consider Nightwave Sleep Assistant. It’s doctor-recommended for falling asleep naturally, and it quiets the mind and body by guiding patients through a pre-sleep relaxation routine. It’s silent, completely natural, non-invasive, and requires no headphones, wires or masks.

The soft light is dim and soothing – not associated with bright light therapy – and it’s less expensive, less risky, and more supportive of overall health than prescription sleep medications.

Post-surgery transportation – a practical gift for patients

A thoughtful gift for back surgery patients is your willingness to drive them to follow-up appointments, physiotherapy sessions, and even support groups. Instead of asking your patient to call when he needs a ride, send a text or email every morning. Ask what’s lined up for the day or week, and if you can drive him to a doctor or other appointment.

If you know your post-op patient isn’t sleeping well (getting a good night’s rest is crucial and difficult after surgery!), read How to Sleep After Breast Cancer Surgery.

Electronic reader or tablet

after surgery gift ideas to healA Kindle Fire with Wi-Fi might is a gift that entertains and relaxes patients by providing books and magazines. It’s easy to hold and use, and offers people a wide range of options and activities for long afternoons…and even longer nights.

A wireless internet connection and something like an iPad is an essential gift for post surgery patients. They won’t be dancing jigs or running marathons while healing, and they will get bored. A light, easy to handle Samsung tablet or an Apple iPad with Wi-Fi is helpful for back surgery patients.

One surgeon said participating in supportive and informative forums can be a helpful way to stay connected with other patients recovering from surgery. That said, however, it’s important not to allow the internet to consume unhealthy amounts of time and energy.

Supportive pillows for after back surgery

post surgery recovery giftsAfter surgery, many patients need extra support for the back and neck. A BedLounge Ultimate Back Support Pillow is a gift that will help with day rest and night sleep, no matter what type of surgery the patient underwent. This gift will also be useful and appreciated after recovery! It’s a great pillow for watching movies and even lounging in the backyard on a warm summer day.

Talk to the surgeon before buying this post-surgery recovery gift, though – a memory foam wedge might be more effective. Each surgery is different, as is every patient, and you want to make sure you get a gift that helps with healing.

A water infuser

Post Surgery Gifts for Healing and RecoveryMost patients have to take painkillers after surgery. A negative side effect of painkillers is constipation – and one of the best remedies (besides lots of fiber!) is water.

One of my favorite gift ideas for after surgery is an Atlantis Water and Fruit Infusion Glass Pitcher. It’s perfect for infusing beverages with natural flavors. It’s a great way to enjoy a sweet drink without added sugar. It’s so easy to use; just choose your favorite fruits, and slice them into smaller pieces. The smaller the slices, the stronger the infusion. Put the fruit inside the infuser and add fresh water. Wait for at least an hour and voila! Delicious water with no calories.

Post-operative patients are often instructed to drink a lot of water after surgery, to flush out their system and get their kidneys and bowels moving again. Water isn’t as interesting as fruit-infused water to drink, which is why this gift is good for healing after surgery.

Satin sheets for easy sliding

gifts post surgery healing recoverySoft, comfortable Fitted Satin Bedsheets are a beautiful-yet-practical gift after surgery. They’re not only luxurious and comfortable, they’ll help patients slide in and out of bed quickly and easily. It’s hard to scooch around on cotton sheets when your arm, back or leg is hobbled – especially when you’re in pain.

This is one of the most thoughtful, practical, luxurious post-surgery gifts. If you decide to gift your patient with satin, make sure the sheets are fitted! If they don’t tuck in well, they’ll undone and leave the mattress exposed.

Comfort basket to support patients emotionally after surgery

A gift basket or box with comfort items the patient can easily reach is a great gift idea for patients after surgery. This is where the grabber at the beginning of this article comes in handy! Fill the basket with reading materials, tissues, lip balm, water bottle with straw, snacks, gum, puzzles, phone, phone numbers, small notebook, pen, puzzles, etc.

A relaxing, comforting post-surgery environment

What does your patient’s main space look like? Is she surrounded by images of beauty and healing, art and flowers, color and light? A creative post-surgery gift is to make sure she is surrounded by beautiful and healthy things when she’s recovering in bed.

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life,” said Pablo Picasso. Can you incorporate art into your patient’s life to help with recovery? Plants, pretty scarves, colorful pictures are great gifts to help someone heal after surgery.

Heating pads for post-surgery pain

surgery healing gifts

Heating pads can alleviate lower back pain and discomfort after surgery – depending on the type and severity of the surgery. The BodyMed Digital Heating Pad includes “moist heat”, which is especially useful for pain relief associated with muscle strains and spasms, joint pain and inflammation.

If you give a heating pad as a gift to a post surgery patient, make sure he knows when to use heat versus ice. Ice packs can be really good for back pain relief, and so can heating pads.

Does your post-op patient have a birthday coming up? Read Thoughtful 40th Birthday Gifts for Women.

Encouragement for patients recovering from surgery

In 20 Breast Cancer Surgery Recovery Gifts, I describe the importance of hope on healing and recovery after a major illness or health event. I don’t know how your back surgery patient is coping with discouragement and pain, but it’s always good to bring a message of joy, peace, and inspiration.

If you don’t know how to bring the gift of hope and encouragement to a patient recovering from back surgery, let me know in the comments section below. I’m good at researching stuff 🙂

A post surgery cane or walker

post surgery gift ideas

HurryCane All-Terrain Cane; Freedom Edition pictured is that it stands up by itself! If you give this gift, get a ribbon and wind it around the cane. Make it look fun – maybe you can create a candy cane effect. Or, consider getting an ornately carved wooden cane that is not only practical, but also beautiful.

May your loved one experience a full recovery from this surgery, and be able to get out of bed and walk around without any pain or discomfort! May you go back to your regular life quickly and effortlessly, whether it’s work or playing with the kids or traveling to exotic lands. May God bless you with peace, hope, and encouragement. May your faith guide you and lead you, and give you comfort and joy. I send you blessings as you heal and recover – and I also pray that you find gifts in this experience of back surgery.

And thus ends my list of gifts to help patients recover after surgery. If you have any additions or ideas, please comment below!

“It’s supposed to be a secret, but I’ll tell you anyway. We doctors do nothing. We only help and encourage the doctor within.” – Albert Schweitzer, MD.


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