What should you bring? Which items stay at home? What will you need before, during and after a hospital stay? Here are 7 ways to prepare yourself for time in the hospital.
When it comes to your hospital stay, your focus needs to be on healing — not on worrying whether you’ve brought everything you’ll need.
To that end, we know that preparing and packing in advance can make all the difference. Here are seven considerations as you prepare for a hospital stay.
Prep 101: How to Pack for a Hospital Stay
- Medications. For your own safety, it is important to leave all current medications at home and to not bring them to the hospital. Instead, prepare a list of everything you’re currently taking, including any medications, vitamins, supplements and herbs. Share this with your healthcare team upon check-in, and they will ensure you receive all necessary medications throughout your stay — preventing any potential duplications or negative interactions.
- 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 also 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.