Andy Jackson
Posted by

8 ways for patients to take their mind off treatment

Andy Jackson
Posted by
10 Dec 2014

Whether it's attending an outpatient check-up with the consultant, having a chemo session or going for a PET scan blood cancer patients spend a lot of time in and out of hospitals. Invariably, this means a lot of waiting around which is tedious in itself but can also be extremely tense and nervous time for patients and their families.

We asked our supporters on Facebook what tips they had for patients to help pass the time in hospital. Here's what they had to say:

1. Bring your technological comforts to stay in touch with the wider world

For patients facing a stay in hospital the most important thing was to come armed with electronic devices that would keep them in touch with the outside world and entertain them in equal measure. Most commonly this was in the form of the i-Pad but could, in truth, be anything from a portable games device like a PSP, to a lap-top stocked up with movies and music right through to a smart phone. Angharad Baynham, who supported her mum during her treatment with acute myeloid leukaemia wrote:


Dianne Carpenter was in 100% agreement. She wrote:

2. Make your room your own

Making hospital feel more like being at home by putting up posters and cards, bringing in your own duvet and putting out pictures of your friends and family helps patients to feel more comfortable in their surroundings and take their mind off treatment. At the same time, making the room as you like it helps pass the time. Hodgkin lymphoma survivor Louise Macleod wrote:

Rachel-Ann Edwards was also fully in favour of personalising the room wherever possible as well as having a steady supply of books to keep her entertained. She wrote:

3. Talk with those around you

This might not be for everyone as some patients may prefer to keep themselves to themselves but talking with the nurses and other patients who are in a similar position of having to nervously wait around can be a brilliant way to pass the time. Whilst talking about treatment is an inevitable topic of conversation it's not the only one and patients may be surprised what they have in common besides having blood cancer. Hodgkin lymphoma survivor Louise Smith wrote:

For Nicki Paynter's mum, time flew by speaking to others and really helped lift her mood. Nicki wrote:

4. Plan things to look forward to

One way of idling the way the waiting time and taking your mind off treatment is to plan all the fun things you're going to do when you get out of hospital as Joanne Howe Heart, mum of a childhood ALL patient makes clear:

For Emma Grocott this was planning her upcoming wedding:

5. Have lots of visitors & bring someone with you to appointments

Waiting is infinitely harder on your own. If you're an outpatient coming in for treatment, tests or a check-up bring a loved one with you to reassure you and keep you company while you wait. Patient Valerie Larsen wrote:

6. Write a blog

Writing a blog or keeping a journal is a great way to pass the time but also helps you to make sense of what's going on and helps you to keep your friends updated on what's going on without you having to repeat yourself. Lucia Pasqualino wrote:

Join our pattient community to start blogging and engaging with others affected by blood cancer.

7. Bring things that keep you entertained

This sounds obvious but it isn't always as easy as it sounds to think of things that can keep you entertained when you're in a hospital environment. Cards and crosswords work well. For Kate Cleevely this was doing lots of sudoku. 

Alison Fullalove-Lyons had the ingenious idea of using the time to write her Christmas cards for friends and family. She wrote:

8. Get lost in a good book

This was a popular choice for many patients who found reading a book helped both pass the time and take minds off treatment. For Nav Novo it really helped distract him while having chemotherapy. Nav wrote:

The advice offered in this blog is just a fraction of the responses that we received in reply to the original Facebook post which had all sorts of useful information, advice and tips for patients from learning to play an instrument to pre-loading your lap-top with all your favourite music and movies.

Read the original Facebook post

Do you have any addtional tips or advice for passing time in hospital? Have your say in the comment box below:



This is great! I def agree with bringing a crossword.. I got the whole of the ward waiting room involved when i was in hospital .. everyone had to do one clue! 


my 21 year old son had a bone marrow transplant in august of this year at the freeman hospital in Newcastle after having leukemea twice since july 2013.he really struggled to stay in hospital in the past so this gave us great concerns about him been in isolation for 5 weeks for his transplant.we tried to cater for his stay with an excersise bike/dvds/magazines/xbox and ward 34(teenage cancer trust)even bought him a self assembly remote control car to occupy him but during the treatment and transplant he was quite poorly and extremely tired and actually couldn't be bothered with anything or anyone(which is normal)some days he slept almost all day but we were still there at his bedside to support him.not once during his stay did he ask when he could go home which astounded both us and the advice to anyone facing the daunting experience of 5 weeks in isolation for a transplant is to stay focused and stay strong because after all 5 weeks is nothing compared to a whole lifetime of freedom and been healthy again.