17 Gifts to Help With Healing and Recovery After Surgery

These post-surgery gift ideas include helpful tips to help patients heal from all types of surgery. I’m recovering from my second orthopedic surgery; the best post surgery gifts don’t just say “get well soon”! You want the patient to know you care enough to give a gift that actually comforts and helps them heal.

When you’re searching for gift ideas, remember that surgery patients aren’t mobile. This means they need extra hands, arms and even legs, like an octopus. That’s why these Get Well Soon gift ideas aren’t glamorous. They’re practical and helpful. They’re for patients who’ve been discharged after complicated and intense surgeries (and let’s face it…all surgeries are complicated and intense).

Sleep is the most important gift you can give after surgery! Coop Home Good’s Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow – with Hypoallergenic Cross-Cut Memory Foam Fill actually adjusts to suit the patient’s needs. This eliminates the need for multiple pillows, and aids healing by allowing the patient to adjust as needed. There is nothing like a good night’s sleep to get well after surgery…and if you can give that gift, you almost guarantee your patient will be leaping back to work soon.

gift ideas after surgery
“Get Well Soon” Gift Ideas After Surgery

Most of these gifts revolve around sleep, rest, recovery and healing. They aren’t the most uplifting or pretty gifts in the hospital – but they will help your patient see that you’re trying to understand how they feel and what they need. This alone will help them heal faster and feel less alone in their pain.

If you’re looking for gift ideas for a new mother, read What are the Best Gifts for a New Mom After a Cesarean Section?

Post Surgery “Get Well Soon” Gift Ideas for Healing and Recovery

Consider your patient’s personality, lifestyle, interests and overall health when you’re buying a gift to encourage healing and recovery. It can be tempting to ask people what they need and want after surgery – but the truth is they may not even know. They just want to get well and not be in pain anymore. For example, I didn’t know I needed a neck pillow until I was given one as a gift. Surgery is scary and unpredictable; the patient’s energy and resources are focused on getting through it. Give your patient gifts that increase their energy and lift their spirits.

The gift of sleep

I didn’t get a Neck and Chin Supporting Travel Pillow until three weeks post-surgery, and I wish the hospital had sent something like it home with me! This was probably the single most important gift I could ever have received after surgery. My shoulder surgery prevented me from lying down for almost a month – I had to sleep sitting up. 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 aches 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 future vacations and travel excursions. Talk about a practical, encouraging gift for healing and recovery after surgery!

Gift Ideas to Help a Patient Recover After Surgery
Neck Pillow Gift After Surgery

My first shoulder surgery was about ten months ago; I fell while jogging and ripped my arm bone from my shoulder socket. Oh, the pain! The surgeon installed a metal plate and eight screws to re-attach my bones.

A week ago, the same surgeon performed a second surgery to remove the metal plate and eight screws – and I’m thrilled and thankful to report that the pain is about 90% less than it was for the first operation. Still, I found myself writing How Jesus Might Pray for Healing After Surgery … because it is NO FUN recovering after a major operation.

healing gift ideas for patients recovering from surgery
X-Ray of Laurie’s broken shoulder with metal plate and screws

A tool for picking stuff up

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.

gifts to help someone recover after surgery
Grabber – Post-Surgery Gift Idea

A grabber isn’t the most beautiful Get Well Soon gift idea 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 gift of heating or cooling surgical incisions and bruising

I’m still using my Reusable Hot and Cold Therapy Gel Wrap, night and day. It doesn’t matter what type of surgery your patient had; he or she probably has sore bits that need icing (to reduce swelling and bleeding, like me) or heating (depending on the type of surgery).

best post-surgery recover gifts for patients
Hot and Cold Therapy Gel Wrap

A good hot and cold therapy wrap doesn’t just soothe a patient’s soreness after surgery, it molds itself to the body part. My old ice pack kept slipping from my shoulder to my arm. I didn’t know that you could get icing and heating wraps that stay in place! A gel wrap is better than a bag of frozen peas (which my hospital’s post-surgery recovery plan suggested) because it can be used both hot and cold. This is another get well soon gift idea that helps with healing after surgery.

The gift of a full size body pillow

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.

post surgery gift ideas

A body pillow – the Memory Foam Full Size Body Pillow with Kool-Flow Breathable Air Flow – is better than just a head pillow for post-operative healing and recovery. Sleep is one of the most important things a patient needs after surgery — if not the most important thing! Both body and head pillows offer ventilation and promote proper alignment for deeper sleep through the night.

The gift of snacks and treats

A Mini Fridge for ice, water, juice, snacks and fruit is an excellent, practical and thoughtful, practical post-operative present! This is also helpful for the “nurses” who are helping the patient recover because it alleviates the need to run up and down stairs or to the kitchen for nourishment. It can even contain medication, which needs to be kept cold in some cases.

Gift Ideas to Help With Healing and Recovery After Surgery
Mini Fridge for Healing and Recovery After Surgery

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. The best get well soon gift after surgery allows patients to nourish their bodies without using energy or effort.

Grocery, gas, or gift cards – a financial gift for patients who can’t work

An Amazon Gift Card – or a local grocery store gift card from a place that delivers – is a good because patients can’t leave home after surgery. Getting well requires them to rest alot, which means they can’t go shopping for groceries, toiletries, or other necessary items. This gift helps a patient heal from surgery by easing the stress of not working and not making money.

The gift of silence (or white noise!)

The SNOOZ White Noise Sound Machine will block out the disruptive noises that irritate patients who are trying to get the sleep they need to heal. Remember how I said sleep is one of the best Get Well Soon gift ideas after surgery? A sound machine is perfect because it helps patients fall asleep naturally. It can also quieten the mind and body by giving patients something else to think about.

Thoughtful Gift Ideas for Patients Healing After Surgery
White Noise Sound Machine for Post-Surgery Recovery

Healing and recovering after surgery is painful and difficult; something soothing and mind-numbing can make a big difference. A white noise machine is natural, non-invasive, and requires no headphones, wires or masks.

The gift of a lift to medical appointments

A thoughtful gift for 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 patient isn’t sleeping well, read How to Sleep After Breast Cancer Surgery.

Electronic reader or tablet

A 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.

Gift Ideas to Help With Healing and Recovery After Surgery

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 encourage patients to get well soon. Talking or writing to other patients recovering from surgery helps us feel less alone.

The gift of being upright

This Doctor-Designed Egonomic BedLounge is perfect for patients who are tired of lying down. After surgery, many patients need extra support for the back and neck. This is a get well soon gift after surgery that feels like a literal hug from someone who cares :-)

post surgery recovery gifts

A 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.

A water infuser for post-surgery hydration

Almost every patient has to take painkillers after surgery. A negative side effect of painkillers is constipation – and one of the best remedies is to drink lots and lots of water. But even if patients like the taste of water – and they want to drink it because it helps with healing and recovery after surgery – it gets boring after awhile.

Post Surgery Gifts for Healing and Recovery

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

Soft, comfortable Fitted Satin Bedsheets are a beautiful-yet-practical get well soon gift idea 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.

gifts post surgery healing recovery

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.

The gift of healing words after surgery – get well, peace, love, joy

A simple Comfort Peace Love Joy Fleece Blanket. Healing after surgery can get lonely and depressing. A warm blanket – especially one with the words “Peace Love Joy” – will remind your patient that he or she is not alone.

Healing Recovery Gifts After Surgery
Comforting Blanket for Healing

Remember how important the environment is when it comes to healing and recovery. 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.

The gift of no pain

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.

surgery healing gifts

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.

The gift of mobility – a cane or walker

The HurryCane All-Terrain Cane; Freedom Edition 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. Something like this — a gift that encourages people to be free, mobile and interactive with the world — can be encouraging and uplifting for patients who are getting tired of waiting for healing to happen.

“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.

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.

The gift of hope, joy and faith (the best Get Well Soon Gift Idea After Surgery!)

The Willow Tree figurines are my favorite non-practical gifts for healing and recovery. They’re simple, classic, and pretty. I include one on almost every gift article I write – including Sympathy Gift Ideas for Someone Who Lost a Mom.

Healing Recovery Post-Surgery Gift Idea
Willow Tree – Happiness

One last idea for patients healing after surgery: “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life,” said Pablo Picasso. A touch of beauty, color, and creativity can help patients recover from surgery. Can you incorporate something beautiful into your patient’s room? Plants, pretty scarves, colorful pictures are great gifts to help someone heal after surgery.

The gift of a gentle post-surgery massage

Aching bones, stiff joints, and sore muscles are the worst parts of recovering from surgery. One of the most practical, helpful gifts you can give someone you’re close to is a gentle massage. You don’t necessarily have to pay for a specialized post-surgery massage therapist, though it does depend on how you’re patient is doing. I would’ve loved my feet and hands massaged while I was healing from both surgeries. Any gift that helps ease stress, pressure and soreness after surgery is wonderful – including gifts that distract patients from the pain.

I hope you found a good gift in this list! Remember that the most important gift is your time and attention. A big pile of Get Well presents is meaningless if your heart isn’t in it.

In peace and passion,



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3 thoughts on “17 Gifts to Help With Healing and Recovery After Surgery”

  1. I hope your shoulder surgery is a past memory and you are in recovery, Laurie. These are great gift ideas for patients after surgery. I had a mastectomy six months ago. My husband hired a mediation teacher to come to our house and give me yoga and meditation sessions. She visited six times, and it was so helpful. I loved our meditation sessions and know they helped me recover from surgery. This was the best gift my husband could give me.

    The teacher emailed me some tips for mediation after surgery to help patients recover. Here are some of the most helpful ones:

    Quiet Room

    Meditation is best practiced in a quiet room where you can concentrate undisturbed. It is possible to meditate anywhere you find yourself, for example on a plane, bus, or train. But part of the practice involves focusing the mind, so noise and outside distractions may take away from this.

    Comfortable Position

    To meditate, you do not have to sit on the floor with your legs crossed. The most important thing is to be comfortable. You may not even be able to get out of bed after surgery, much less sit on the floor! A chair, sofa, or even your bed is find. Bear in mind, if you lie down in your bed, you may fall asleep, so you may want to at least sit up.

    Relax your body

    A common practice that you can use to relax your body is to tense up a body part, hold it for 5 to 10 seconds, and then let it relax. You can start with your feet, and work your way up to your face.

    You may be tempted to skip this part especially if you recently had surgery, but don’t. This is because many of us walk around all day with part of our body unknowingly tense. By purposely tensing up, you become more conscious of what it feels like to be relaxed and free of tension.

    Breathe Deeply

    Breathing is an important aspect of meditation, especially for patients recovering from surgery. This is because many people take short shallow breaths, which leads to stress. By practicing deep breathing you can bring about almost instantaneous relief and relaxation. Your breathing should come from your stomach, not your chest. If you are physically able, breathe just through your nose. Make sure to slightly exaggerate your breathing process with your exhaling being the most protruded. Breathing in this manner expels more carbon dioxide, allowing you to breathe in more air.

    Focus your thoughts

    Every emotion you experience starts from your thoughts, which means that happiness really is a state of mind. Therefore, you want to focus your mind on something pleasant. For instance a white sandy beach, or a lush green meadow, anything that conjures up feelings of relaxation. This will help your body recover and heal after surgery.

    I hope this helps, thanks again for your tips and gift ideas for patients recovering from surgery.

    Shirley L.

  2. Thank you. I ordered the water bottle. Great gift idea for a cancer patient. Went to the oncology surgeon’s website. Bought her coffee for fun too!