CaringBridge Staff | 09.12.19
If your loved one has an overnight or extended hospital stay, you’ll need to bring a few things. The question is: what should you bring?
Here are 12 of the most important items to pack in your hospital bag for a long stay:
1. Pillows and Blankets from Home
Your softest blankets and plushest pillows can help you feel more relaxed and at home, which is especially helpful during long hospital stays.
If anyone is good at the tied quilts, crocheted blankets and or knit blankets they are made for patients who haven’t any family. Our church calls them prayer blankets. But it’s ok just to make and send them to the hospitals pastoral care. Nurses love them. It brightens their room and their outlook.
2. Extra Clothes
Sometimes, you won’t know exactly how long you’ll be staying at the hospital. Packing a few changes of clothes and sleepwear will make you more comfortable and will prevent you from making extra trips back home.
Long stays in the hospital can mean a lot of extra free time. Make sure to pack a few of your favorite books and magazines to keep your mind busy. Some people also find comfort in bringing a Bible or their journal to stay inspired during this time.
4. Pictures of Family and Friends
Having photos of family and friends around is a great reminder of how much love and support is in your loved one’s life. Fun snapshots from family vacations or silly photos of friends will make everyone smile.
Something I like to do is to make a “happy bag” for my daughter. I buy little gifts, usually on clearance, and store them until I know she is going to the hospital. then I put several of them into a small gift bag to give to her while at the hospital. Another thing I do is , if I know it will be and extended stay I have a stash of party , and/or holiday decorations that I use to decorate her room with to cheer her up with. It also works to make the medical team happier.
Bring along your everyday toiletries. These include:
- Shampoo, conditioner and soap
- Makeup/lip balm
- Contacts/solution and eyeglasses
6. Phone/Laptop Chargers
You want your phone at full battery to stay in touch with other family members and friends. You may also find your laptop helpful at this time, like if you need to catch up on work or want it for entertainment. Don’t forget headphones if you’ll be listening to something on your device – to not disturb other patients.
7. Extension Cords
Extension cords can come in handy since plugs may not always be in the most convenient locations.
8. Something Comforting
Whether it be a teddy bear, essential oils or fuzzy socks, bring something that always makes you feel comfortable and safe. That way, you’ll always have a little piece of home, even while you’re away.
9. Eye Mask/Ear Plugs
If you have trouble sleeping, an eye mask and earplugs can be helpful in catching some much-needed ZZZs.
If you’re fighting off a cold or are prone to headaches, consider packing OTC pain or cold medication so you can make sure you’re staying well (but always check with your doctor before taking).
Bringing your own food and drinks can help you eat healthier and save you money.
Important: Please note these guidelines when bringing outside food and drinks into the hospital:
- Check with the nurse, doctor or dietitian if the food is for the patient.
- Prepare the food safely.
- Bring single-serve items to prevent waste.
- Don’t store perishable foods in the room.
- Label all food items to prevent food from being taken by other patients.
If you decide to eat at the hospital, remember quarters and dollars for the vending machines.
Lately, we’ve started packing the single serving hand held chicken noodle soups that go in the microwave, but we always comply with diet restrictions. So often the food she is served is unappetizing. Use good sense, comply with regulations, but if you’re a frequent flyer you know what your hospital allows or doesn’t. Lastly, don’t take anything you can’t afford to lose.
12. A Gift for the Nurses
They care for your loved one – it can be a very kind gesture to show them you care, too.
For inspiration, here are some fun gifts ideas for nurses.
What Do You Pack In Your Hospital Bag?
We want to hear it from you: What other items are essential during a long hospital stay? Your comments are much appreciated!
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