What To Pack Before You Go To The Hospital

I hate it when a loved one has to go to the hospital. Depending on why they're there, you can expect some sort of wait. If it's an outpatient surgery, I bring along a fully charged phone, some reading material, and some hard candy.

For longer stays or surgeries you'll want to come more prepared.

First things first. Touch nothing that's for public use like magazines or newspapers. You don't know how many hands have touched those things. Use your own pen for filling out forms.

After that, let's put together a kit.

Waiting Room Bag

• Carry a list of all the medications the patient is taking, including dosage. Hospital personnel will ask for it.
• Bring a jacket, sweater, or blanket. It's generally cold in there.
• Notebook and pen. You'll be too distracted to remember names and instructions. Write them down.
• Snacks. I like trail mix, hard candy, dried fruit. Anything that isn't messy.
• Water. Every time I'm in a waiting room it feels extraordinarily dry. Or maybe it's my nerves.
• Hand sanitizer. A trip to the bathroom so you can actually wash your hands would be best, but if you don't want to be absent when they call your name, hand sanitizer is a must.
• Phone charger.
• Change for the vending machine
• Phone numbers. Keep a list of names and numbers for friends and family--anyone you might need to call while you're waiting.

If your loved one will be admitted to the hospital, you'll want to plan for long term measures.

For longer stays:
• Bring your own pillow and a small blanket.
• Bring a care kit that includes: a toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, aspirin (or non-aspirin), chap stick, and a small tube of hand lotion.
• A laptop or iPad so you can watch movies or listen to music (already downloaded). Don't forget that charger too.
• Books, Kindle, playing cards, knitting, cross stitch, or a board game.

As much as I feel sorry for whoever's in the hospital, you have to think of the person waiting for them. If that person is you, try to take care of yourself as much as you can. Read something uplifting or watch a funny movie. Anything to keep your spirits up.

Keep a support team of friends nearby, people you can call if you need a break from your vigil. Just talking to someone is a great spirit booster.

If you have children, see if you can have them stay with friends or family while you're at the hospital. A hospital is no place for kids, but if they have to come, have some age-appropriate entertainment for them.

Is there anything else you would add? Have you had to do any hospital-waiting? Fortunately my wait was for a short time, but it always feels like an eternity when family is involved.


Jenny Schwartz said…
You are so organised! I loathe hospitals. There are two really close to me (my sister's walked the distance, me, I think buses and cars were invented for a reason). I hope that family would be treated at one of them, making it easier to cope; but chances are the system would shuffle them to somewhere else! The smell of hospitals really gets to me, so although I wouldn't recommend wearing perfume (which can irritate sensitive people waiting nearby) a nice scented hand lotion to apply after the compulsory hand washing is a good idea.
Maria Zannini said…
Jenny: Part of this came from learning it the hard way. :)

For the most part we've been lucky with the hospitals where we've ended up, but it would be luckier still if we never had to use them. ;)
mike Keyton said…
With me it was pyjamas. I had none - none that my wife found acceptable. One good thing from a collapsed lung. I ended up with a three pairs of new pyjamas
Maria Zannini said…
Mike: That was one serious stay. Thank goodness you walked away with a parting gift to wear for later. :)