What to pack in a hospital bag
29th April 2015
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.
An impending stay in hospital can be very daunting, no matter your age, but there are ways in which it can be made more bearable. Here, with the help and advice of bloggers and wheelchair tray and bag company Trabasack, this guide will make sure that you have all you need for your impending time in hospital.
You will want to make sure that you feel as comfortable as possible while in hospital, and clothing will play a large part in this. When you’re not required to wear a backless hospital gown, pyjamas are often a welcomed substitute and will make you feel more at home. However, for those staying for longer durations, it may be that you bring along loose fitting tops and trousers too, as this can help differentiate the days from the nights. Here are a few further tips to make sure you pack the correct clothing.
“A pair of slippers. Once you’re on your feet, the doctors and nurses will be insisting you do a hell of a lot of walking up and down corridors to prevent thrombosis, so you’ll need a good, comfortable pair with a non-slippery sole.
“A dressing gown which is not too thick, which you can wear over your nightie. The hospital may well provide you with one of these, but you may feel more comfortable in your own.” – Davinia Hamilton, a writer whose blog is full of fantastic life advice.
“Glasses. If you wear contact lenses, you might consider taking glasses instead, as they are more practical in a dry hospital environment.” – Trabasack
"Going into hospital is bad enough, but it's made much worse if you lack dressing gown, slippers, nightwear and toilet bag. These are expensive to buy, and most of us beyond the first flush of use don't have smart nightwear (after all who sees it?). So embarrassment is added to the anxiety of the hospital visit. Our hospital kit is a sensitive way of overcoming the problem." – Good Gifts
You will also most likely want loose clothing for the journey home, especially following surgery so that you don’t irritate any delicate areas.
Hospital food has a reputation for not being very appetising, although this is often a misconception. Although it varies from hospital to hospital, they allow patients to choose their portion sizes as well as their meals, so don’t assume that you’ll go hungry. However, you may like to bring some along with you in the event that there is something you particularly fancy, or if you get peckish at a time other than breakfast, lunch or dinner.
“Bring in your favourite food/snacks that will nourish you and you can eat in your own time. Also, ask for a fridge. Hospitals often have some they can bring to your room if you request one.” – Gilly Cannon, a blogger who shares her valuable experiences of dealing with her husband’s Trigeminal Neuralgia illness.
When staying in hospital you will want to bring a number of toiletries from home, such as soap, shampoo, a hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant. Not only will maintaining your personal hygiene make you feel much better in yourself, but it will also give you something to do when boredom often strikes.
Being away from home is often the most dreaded part of a hospital stay, but it is possible to bring items along with you to ease this. It may be that you bring along photographs of family, or even your favourite music or movie, just to help you feel more at home.
“Your own pillow with a coloured pillowcase so you can spot it easily to take home again” – Gilly
While they can be provided by the hospital, blankets from home can also be particularly comforting, especially when visiting time is over and it is time to get some sleep.
Those with a Trabasack wheelchair tray will also want to make sure to bring these along, as not only are they award-winning travel bags, but they also provide a tray surface to help keep you comfortable in your hospital bed.
As mentioned above, being in hospital can often mean that you spend the majority of time in a bed, with very little to entertain you. So, in order to combat this, you should plan to bring a variety of entertainment along with you. From electronic items such as iPads and laptops, to books and puzzles, the time will pass much quicker if you have something to do.
“Magazines, puzzles books and short articles are good because of all the interruptions and things that make you laugh-because laughter really does help with the stress.” – Gilly
“A book or two, depending on how long you are there for. Take something you will enjoy reading. The first time I had to have surgery I made the mistake of taking a D.H. Lawrence book with me. I hate D.H. Lawrence. I do not know what possessed me. Needless to say, I watched a lot of TV.” – Davinia
Mobile phones will also come in handy, as not only do they have apps which can keep you occupied, but you will also be able to contact the necessary people to collect you when you are ready to go home. This can also be used to confirm with relatives that your home is prepared for your return, such as having food ready in the fridge or the addition of a rise and recline chair following orthopaedic surgery.
Alongside all of the above, it’s important to remember documents and medication that you may need for the duration of your hospital stay. Here are a few last checklist items that you may want to pack.
“A copy of your prescription list along with your usual medicines and supplements.” – Trabasack
“Take with you all scans, test results, referral forms, insurance forms and consultation notes you may have which are relevant to your surgery, as well as any (filled in!) admission papers the hospital has asked you to complete.” – Davinia
Will you be staying in hospital due to orthopaedic surgery? If so, why not take a look at our guide so that you can prepare appropriately.
This content was written by Emily Bray. Please feel free to visit my Google + profile to read more stories.