We're often struck by an urge to "do something" when we hear about a friend, colleague or family member who is in the hospital. Unfortunately, that urge can turn to inaction when we're not sure what's permissible or acceptable to do. Simply saying, "let me know if I can help," has good intentions, but isn't very effective. It puts the burden of coming up with something that would be helpful and communicating it on to either the person who is in the hospital or the friend and family helping with their care. Instead, by being specific in your suggestion of assistance the person you're making the offer to can simply say, "Yes that would be great!" or "Thank you for offering but at this time it's best if I (we) say no." (which is okay! Not everyone needs a meal train created, book delivery, or someone to help shuttle the kids to and from school.) Here are some ideas to get you started:
If your offer is declined - which happens - it's okay to make another later on or to ask if there is something you're not thinking of that would be welcome, but starting with a specific offer is a considerate way to go.