My grandfather is currently dying of cancer, and while helping to care for him my grandma had to be admitted to the hospital as well. My parents are doing the brunt of the work since my Mom is a nurse and my Dad has his own business (and all of the other children are not able to help out). I've been trying to help out where I can, but since I have 2 kids there hasn't been a lot that I could do.
I am sure that some of the following could be very helpful to your friend:
*cleaning (of either or both homes)~ either have a rotating schedule for each house once a week or get together and chip in for a temporary maid service
*grocery shopping or other errands
*meals are very helpful too! Even if you premake and freeze a few for here and there that are easy for her to heat up, it makes a big difference! Often people caring for others forget how important it is to eat right and keep themselves healthy and resort to unhealthy snacks to tide them over.
*offer to sit with her family if she needs to get out to get her hair or other pampering done
*spa gift certificate? (with the help needed to spend a few hours away so she can be fully pampered without taking her worries with her).
*staying with her parents so she can have some quality time with her husband and son
... childcare could be helpful in less obvious ways ~ her husband might need a childcare break to help refresh everyone in the household.
... and another final thought ~ ask her what she needs most.
During my grandparents hospitalizations and my own (i've been hospitalized for many months at a time ~ most recently was pregnancy complications and baby in NICU). Often its the little things that help the most. Visiting with her and just helping her destress is really more helpful than you can imagine. I was very thankful when different people stepped in to help care for my oldest daughter while I was in the hospital with my youngest daughter. Most recently I've made my intentions known to my parents that I'd like to help in whatever way I can ~ even though I live 6 hours from them and have 2 kids I expressed my willingness to do what was needed. I also expressed that I didn't want to get in the way or cause more work for them, so if they wanted me to stay home rather than help, that I understood that as well.
It is really great that you have such a group of friends that supports each other!!