Packing for hospital
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.
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. 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.
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
- 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
- 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!
FOR KIDS BEING ADMITTED
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.
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
- 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
FOR ADULTS BEING ADMITTED
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
- Catheters if needed
- A bag for dirty clothes to send home for laundering.
- Label everything including chargers.
- Leave valuables at home
HOW OTHERS CAN HELP
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.
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. AJ 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.
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A similar list for support workers would be useful. On our would be;
PEG feeding gear
Special cusions, foam wedges and other positioning equip
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
Good point. Thanks for contributing some great ideas.