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What to Pack for a Hospital Stay

Packing for a hospital stay isn’t as exciting as packing for a beach trip, but if you know, the necessary things to bring to the hospital for surgery, your stay will be more comfortable.

Hospitals are more in tune with patient comfort than they used to be. The days of trying to hold a hospital gown together as you walk down the hallway are over. If you know what to pack for a hospital stay, you will be more relaxed and feel more like yourself, despite your confinement in the hospital.

If you’re preparing for an overnight stay in the hospital, it’s helpful to make a hospital bag checklist for surgery before your admission. Your overnight hospital bag for surgery should be lightweight and easy to stash in the small closet or corner of the room without getting in the way.

When considering what to take to the hospital for surgery, necessities and comfort items will make your hospital stay as satisfying as possible. Let’s identify the necessities first and then add the comfort items to your hospital bag.

Surgery is stressful and can sometimes lead to more than an overnight stay in the hospital, so keep that in mind when you pack your bag. It’s better to have a few things you don’t need than to need a few things you don’t have.

The following tips will help you feel more at ease until you are released to go home.

Hospital Bag Necessities:

  • Photo ID and insurance cards, and a copy of your advanced directive
  • List of all medications you are currently taking with dosing information
  • Personal toiletry items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and hairbrush
  • Cell phone and charger (Don’t forget that charger!)
  • Warm robe and slippers
  • Eyeglasses with case

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Comfort Items for a Better Hospital Experience:

  • Your favorite comfy pajamas
  • Make sure your slippers have rubber soles
  • Flip flops to wear in the shower
  • Underwear and socks (the socks will keep your feet warm while in bed)
  • Your own soap and shampoo
  • Your own pillow is always nice
  • A book, magazine, or tablet
  • An eye mask and earplugs if you’re a light sleeper
  • Lip balm for the inevitable dry mouth after anesthesia
  • A comfortable outfit to wear home
  • Earbuds if you plan to use your electronic device or phone
  • Non-perishable snacks if your doctor approves
  • A notebook to write down the things you might not remember and a list of the medical professionals who are involved in your treatment for later reference.

Remember that you will have limited space, but the items listed should fit in a small, soft duffel-type bag. Put liquid toiletries in a large zip-lock bag to avoid an accidental spill.

Checking in to the hospital with the things needed for a comfortable stay requires some pre-planning, but you’ll be happy you took the time to do it. The simple things can determine how well your hospital stay works out for you.

There’s something uplifting about having your own brand of toothpaste, body lotion, and shampoo when you get ready to take a shower. You’ll emerge feeling fresh as a daisy and ready to face whatever the day brings. Get well soon!

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