How about some manly styled wrist warmers or a scarf? It sounds kinda different or trite, but my thought is that he would have something soft, and handmade with love to see and touch and help him thing nice thoughts of the person that made it. My dad (who passed 3 1/2 yrs ago) was sick in the hospital for 7 months before he died. I wish I had been knitting then. He was bedridden but I know he would have loved anything I made for him. In fact, we had so many days of visiting that I can see myself sitting there making something for him. You could do an afghan but knit it while you visit, if that's feasible. I bet he would enjoy the time and seeing what you're doing, even if (God forbid) you don't get it finished, it would be a lovely memory.
Just my 86 cents... Hope it helps!