If a friend or loved one has recently been ill or had surgery, sending a get well card is a nice way to share your well wishes. There are a few simple etiquette rules to follow to ensure that the intended message is properly conveyed to the recipient.
When to Send a Card
It's best to send a get well card a day or two after someone has had surgery--if the patient's hospital stay will be fairly long, sending the card while the recipient is in the hospital is a better gesture than waiting for her release. Hand delivering the card is best if visitors are allowed at the hospital shortly after the patient's release from surgery. If a person has a chronic illness, and doesn't suffer from the symptoms on a daily basis, it is acceptable to send a get well card only during a relapse of the condition to show support and concern.
It is appropriate to send a get well card to a loved one that has missed work for a few days because of the flu or who is unable to perform day-to-day duties due to a broken or sprained limb. Cards should be mailed directly to the loved one's home if you are unable to hand deliver it. A get well card is also appropriate for individuals who simply need to take a break from an extremely busy schedule and may be experiencing fatigue or stress-related symptoms.
What to Say
The get well card should reflect the nature of the illness as well as the giver's relationship to the recipient. For instance, if a loved one is undergoing cancer treatment, the card should be heartfelt and convey a message of genuine concern. If a younger member of the family has undergone surgery for tonsil removal, the get well card should be fun and encouraging but concise. Even though most get well cards contain a pre-printed message in them, proper etiquette suggests that a short, handwritten note should also be placed inside the card to make the well wishes more personable. Humorous cards should not be used for individuals with chronic illnesses unless there is a close relationship between the giver and recipient; otherwise, a funny message could be offensive.
Cards for Employees/ Bosses
When sending a get well card to a co-worker, employee or boss, the language of the card should be professional while still conveying well wishes. Phrases like "wishing you a speedy recovery" or "hope you're feeling better soon" are acceptable. Cards should be left on the desk of the recipient if he will only be away from the office for a day or two; coworkers with a chronic illness should receive get well cards by mail directly to their homes, unless the employee has indicated that home visits are acceptable.
It's best to send a small gift with the get well card, such as a bouquet of flowers or a large balloon. This is appropriate when giving cards to colleagues or loved ones. The get well card can also accompany flowers that are delivered to a patient's hospital room. Depending on the nature of the illness, food gifts are acceptable to send with a get well card as well (for example, a pot of chicken soup for a loved one who has a cold).