Hospitals are a scary place for those visiting and for the patients. Distractions can help the most for people in hospitals. They do not want to be there as much as you do not. So to be the most helpful here are a few things to make the most of your visit.
Make sure you come at a good time.
Timing is everything. Do not come first thing in the morning if possible. Patients are still tired from the night before and more likely to be having tests then. Unless your a family member you should never be there when a doctor is in the room. Plus is possible go together as a group, it is easier for the patient, who feels like he or she has to entertain everytime people pop in.
Calling first lets the person know when to expect you. It also allows them to pick a proper time. Also it allows you to ask if the person requires you to bring an specifics they might need you to bring. Calling also shows that you care enough to take them into consideration. What is best for them is what is most important.
Bring something more then just flowers or balloons.
Put some thought into your gifts. Flowers and balloons are nice for five seconds but all they do is get in the way. Bring more useful things such as toileteries example, lotions, brush, make up for a woman. Bringing pajamas or slippers would also be appreciated if allowed. Then of course magazines, newspaper, book, or cds and a cd player would help the patient out when you leave. Make a mix cd so the person knows you put in some effort , I am sure it will get a better response then a bunch of balloons.
Remember that your there for them
They are the person who is sick and in need, not you. Do not go there and fill the person up with chatter about your life unless they ask to know. Keep things light and allow the person to talk most of the time, but at the same time do not make the person feel like they have to amuse you. If the conversations start to run out or if they person seems tired leave, your there for them, not for you.
If you make yourself useful.
Go there and help as much as possible. Add water to flowers, clean up, or ask to take some of the balloons and flowers home to unclutter the room. Ask if there are any phone calls or people that they would like you to get in contact with. Of just see if they need you to run any errands. They are probably stressed about the responsiblities that being in a hospital does not let them do. So any help will relieve that stress.