It’s normal to feel nervous about a hospital stay. Ease your mind and focus on healing by arriving prepared with everything you and your healthcare team will need.
Contending with health concerns is hard enough. Add a hospital stay to the mix — an unfamiliar environment, separation from loved ones — It can be overwhelming. Preparing and packing in advance can make all the difference.
Packing for a Hospital Stay
- Medication. Prepare a list of all medications you’re currently taking, including any vitamins, supplements and herbs. Give a copy to your emergency contact and bring several copies to the hospital. With this information, doctors and pharmacists can avoid prescribing duplicates or new medications that might interact negatively with what you’re already taking.
- Medical Documents and Paperwork. You’ll need your advance directives and healthcare power of attorney so staff can adhere to your personal wishes. Bring copies of your insurance card(s), a list of emergency contacts, and a list of all healthcare providers you’re currently seeing. If you have a living will, bring it as well. Compile all documents in one folder to avoid losing anything. Don’t forget pen and paper to write down instructions, information or questions.
- Toiletries. You’ll feel more at home if you bring your own toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, lotion, lip balm and soap. (And even if you forget, the hospital will provide these items as well.)
- Assistive Devices. Don’t forget your eye glasses, dentures, hearing aids or other assistive devices. All items should be stored in a case labeled with your name.
- Personal Items. For your comfort, bring your favorite pillow, bathrobe, blanket and slippers. Pack a small photo or two to personalize your space. Bringing a little cash is a good idea in case you want to purchase a snack or magazine.
- Entertainment. You’ll have some down time, so bring preferred books and magazines to help you stay occupied. If you have a craft that travels easily and isn’t messy, such as knitting or crochet, bring that too. Renown hospitals allow use of electronic devices such iPads, cell phones, portable DVD players, laptops and MP-3 players, as long as they don’t disturb other patients. Don’t forget headphones or earbuds.
- Clothes for the trip home: Don’t forget a fresh set of clothing for when you are released.
And if you’ve been hospitalized in the recent past or have a health condition that sometimes requires hospitalization, it’s a good idea to have a bag packed with essential items that you or a loved one can grab quickly and bring to the hospital, if needed.