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Have hospital bag, will travel

There are many articles devoted to what to pack for a holiday but far less emphasis is put on what to pack for a hospital stay.  What you will need and manage to take will vary according to the type of stay and whether it is an emergency admission. I recently got caught short with no snacks and with the cafe closed it reminded me that I have this blog post full of tips for what to pack for hospital and I’d missed one of the most obvious.

A quick day surgery for Braeden but Dad is all gowned up!

What to pack for hospital 

We have had many hospital visits for various family members and over the years I’ve learnt a few things about what to have on hand and what to pack in a bag for a longer stay. We wanted to share our tips and those of our readers to hopefully assist someone else who may not know what to pack for a hospital stay.

In an emergency, or times of stress, it is often hard to remember details, even if they are something that comes second nature to you normally.  For this reason it is vital to have a current list of medications, doses and treatments either stored on your phone or in a list form. If you don’t have either of these but use Webster packing, take that with you to the hospital. Also have any health care card numbers, health insurance details and cards noted on your list.  My mother-in-law isn’t into technology but has this in her wallet at all times.  When my Dad was taken to hospital I just grabbed his medication and took it with us because he didn’t have a list.

I asked our extremely knowledgeable Facebook community for their tips and tricks for hospital stays.  What it revealed about our Facebook community is that they are addicted to technology and chocolate!

Please let us know if there is something you think should be on this list.

Technology for a hospital stay

From all the responses we received to the question of what you need to pack for a visit to hospital; technology was the most consistent answer.  People need to stay connected!


  • A tablet for playing games and watching shows
  • Mobile phone
  • Chargers for all devices
  • Extension cord
  • Power board
  • Noise cancelling earphones and headphones

For parents accompanying a patient

Caring for your child while they are in hospital is exhausting and keeping yourself healthy and comfortable is important for you to be an effective support for your child.

  • Comfortable clothes that can double as pj’s for the evening
  • Shoes that can slip on and off easily
  • Lip balm to counteract the drying effect of hospital air conditioning
  • Paracetamol
  • Money – coins for vending machines
  • Your own pillow, blanket or doona
  • Warm clothes
  • A variety of clothes to layer according to air conditioning temperature
  • Air mattress to put on the parent “cot”
  • Yoga mat to roll out over the parent “cot” to make it more comfortable
  • Socks
  • Toiletries
  • A reading light
  • Heat retaining cup with lid
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Hand sanitiser or anti-bacterial wipes
  • Snacks like high protein bars, meal replacement shakes and cup a soup
  • Trashy magazines that don’t require much concentration
  • Chocolate was mentioned many times by parents. The ultimate comfort food for many!

What to pack for children being admitted to hospital

Staying in hospital is tough, not to mention the possible pain or discomfort post-surgery for children.  They need everything possible to make it more comfortable for them.

Amelia post surgery – not a happy camper!

Some suggestions from our Facebook friends include –

  • Communication device or system
  • Feeding tube connections and supplies
  • Own sling for transfers
  • Scans and medical reports that may be relevant
  • PJ’s that open at the front for tests like ECG
  • Favourite books
  • Favourite DVDs
  • A comfort toy or teddy
  • Portable DVD player
  • Snacks (if allowed)
  • Photos of family and friends
  • Posters of favourite characters for the wall if it is a long stay.  Blu Tac to put them up!
  • Wipes and nappies
  • A pillow, pillowcase or blanket from home
  • Stickers
  • New toys for entertainment (Rotate toys if it is a long stay.  Send some home and have different ones brought in)
  • Kids magazines
  • Hand held games
  • Any personal equipment which will make their stay more comfortable

What to pack for adults being admitted to hospital

Many of the items listed above for children also apply to adults.  One of our Facebook friends did add a few additional items –

  • Sanitary products
  • Loose clothing so drip can be easily threaded
  • Track pants
  • Crossword puzzle book or similar
  • Book to read
  • Kindle
  • Catheters if needed

Extra items to pack for hospital 

  • A bag for dirty clothes to send home for laundering.
  • Label everything including chargers.
  • Leave valuables at home
IMG_2394 (2)
Label everything including chargers.

How family & friends can help when you or your loved one is in hospital 

Mereana on Facebook wisely advises that if people say, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do” say, “Yes!”

  • Meals from friends delivered to the hospital beats hospital food and saves money
  • Ask friends to sit with your child to give you a break. Looking after yourself is important and even a short break can refresh you.
  • Allow others to help with siblings.

Sibling care when someone is in hospital

The opinion on how to take care of siblings left at home seemed to vary among our Facebook friends. I guess it comes down to what works for your family.  Some of our Facebook friends felt it was important to keep the usual routine for siblings and not to do hospital visits.  Others said that the siblings worried if they didn’t visit their brother or sister.

I’m all for a bit of spoiling and I think some special treats for siblings is important.  I also think giving a sibling a clear plan of who will be caring for them, when parents will be there helps them to feel more secure.  Amelia likes a list for each day so she knows her responsibilities, what to expect and who will be taking care of her.

A big thank you to everyone who contributed to this post.  If you have anything to add please leave a comment below or pop on over to facebook to tell me.

If you like this blog post why not subscribe to receive our blogs via email. Head to the top right-hand side of the page and you will find the subscribe tab.  If you are not already a member of our facebook community, why not head over and ‘like’ our page.  We are very fortunate to have a generous and well travelled facebook community full of ideas and information.  


2 thoughts on “Have hospital bag, will travel”

  1. A similar list for support workers would be useful. On our would be;
    Webster pack
    PEG feeding gear
    Special cusions, foam wedges and other positioning equip
    Medicare card
    Full name and DOB for medical records
    Front door key – remember to lock the house
    Remember to call Mum and next person on shift, once the person you’re supporting is safe and comfortable


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