Anyone who has done the chronic illness thing for awhile can attest that having a hospital “plan” is key. There are times you go into the ER and you don’t know if you will be staying for just that day, overnight, weeks, or longer. Covid has changed the healthcare system a lot because they don’t allow visitors in most hospitals anymore. For us, my hospital is about an hour and a half away from my house. So packing a bag to take to the ER for overnight stays is CRUCIAL. It’s a trek to bring me an item only to have to drop it off and head back home. SO, here is my list of things not to forget to take in your hospital bag:
- Blanket- You HAVE to have your own blanket. I usually set aside one specific blanket for the hospital. Wash it as soon as you get home. But this is #1 most important item. I switch them up but I will link my current designated hospital blanket. FY FIBER HOUSE Flannel Fleece Throw Blanket, Lightweight Cozy Plush Microfiber Bedspreads for Adults,90 by 108-Inch,Grey Leopard
- Hand Sanitizer – ESPECIALLY with Covid- this is so important to have!!! I bring one that can lock or has a lid so it doesn’t spill in my bag and then I just leave it on my bedside table and use it after every interaction. Most hospitals won’t give you hand sanitizer, so best to take your own. Babyganics Alcohol-Free Foaming Hand Sanitizer, Pump Bottle, Fragrance Free, 8.45 oz, 3 Pack, Packaging May Vary
- Pillow – Hospital pillows just suck. This isn’t a complete must, sometimes I take one & sometimes I don’t. But every time I don’t take one, I regret it!! If you can find one that is small (mine is actually a pillow pet) that’s best. It \can fit in my bag on most trips. Pillow Pets Originals Mr. Bear 18″ Stuffed Animal Plush Toy
- Cozy socks- Socks are something the hospitals do provide for the most part. They are totally fine and work great but aren’t cozy and soft on your feet. So I recommend bringing one or two pairs of cozy socks. MAKE SURE THEY HAVE GRIPPERS ON THE BOTTOM!!!! Tipi Toe Women’s 3-Pairs Cozy Microfiber Anti-Skid Soft Fuzzy Crew Socks FZ16-B
- Headphones- Needs no explanation. The hospital is noisy. Apple AirPods Pro
- iPad/laptop/Kindle/tablet – If you are the owner of any of these or any other similar electronic. BRING IT. Every hospital has WiFi and you can watch Netflix, or play a game, read a book, listen to music or a podcast. You will need things to pass time. There’s A LOT of time.
- Charger- Bring ALL of your chargers. Don’t think “Oh, one charge will be enough”…. it won’t be. It won’t be enough. If something you’re bringing uses a charge to function, you’re bringing it’s charger!! I like these ones because they are super long and can plug into the wall and reach your bed! 3Pack 6ft Charger Cable CABEPOW for Long 6 Foot iPhone Charger Cord/Data Sync Fast iPhone USB Charging Cable Cord Compatible for iPhone X Case/8/8 Plus/7/7 Plus/6/6s Plus/5s/5,iPad Mini Case(Black)
- Chapstick- The hospital is on the colder side and my lips always get dry! ChapStick Lip Moisturizer and Skin Protectant (Original Flavor, 1 Blister 3 Count) Lip Balm Tube, Sunscreen, SPF 15, 3 Count (Pack of 1)
- Face Mist – I just love these. They are so refreshing and make you feel like a new person in the hospital. I use so many different brands, but I love the lavender and rose ones the most. St. Ives and Mario Badescu are my favorite. Mario Badescu Spritz Mist and Glow Facial Spray Collection Trio, Lavender, Cucumber, Rose
- Diffuser – This is just an extra comfort item. My oils calm me so much and make the hospital room seem just a little less hospital-y. In some hospitals they have essential oils you can ask for & they put it on a cotton swab for you to smell. I’ve even had Reiki performed on me while in the hospital! The nurses and care partners will all be camping out in your room because they LOVE the smell compared to the rest of the rooms/hallways. They will also put the oils in for you… all you have to do is ask! Ultimate Aromatherapy Diffuser & Essential Oil Set – Ultrasonic Diffuser & Top 10 Essential Oils – 300ml Diffuser with 4 Timer & 7 Ambient Light Settings – Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils – Lavender
- Snacks- This is a new trick I heard and I’m definitely going to use it in the future. I always get hungry at weird times of the day and night. And, unlike home, you can’t just have food at whatever time… so bring a couple of non-perishable items like crackers, bars or some fruit.
- List of medications- This is important because upon admission they will need to know all of your medications. Name, dosage, frequency, last dose. The list can be on your phone, but just have it handy. On a better day, I can name all that info off the top of my head… but when I am “ER ill”, I can’t even talk.
I’ve never been the type to shower when I’m in the hospital (even when I’ve been in for weeks). I know, gross maybe. But I’ve legit just always been too sick and showering is one of my hardest activities so I don’t even know how I would manage to take a shower while admitted. Therefore, bringing hygiene items is KEY. This is what I bring:
- Face wipes- I use these morning and night, it is very soothing and an easy way to get a clean face without having to get out of your hospital bed. Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Face Wipes, Daily Cleansing Facial Towelettes to Remove Waterproof Makeup and Mascara, Alcohol-Free, Value Twin Pack, 25 Count, 2 Pack
- Down there wipes- Not going to detail this one but these are amazing! I know some people are super against using products “down there”, but we are in the hospital and dealing w bigger issues so I think it is fine for short term use! Goodwipes Flushable Down There Feminine Hygiene Wipes, Lavender Scent, Individually Wrapped, Perfect for Travel, Flushable, PH Balanced and Hypoallergenic (32 Individually Wrapped Wipes)
- Booty wipes or baby wipes- I use these instead of toilet paper. Sometimes in the hospital, depending on why you are in and your symptoms… you spend a lot of time in the bathroom… so it’s better to have gentle products that won’t irritate you. BOOTY WIPES for Women – 320 Flushable Wet Wipes for Adults, Feminine Wipes, pH Balanced (320 Wipes Total – 4 Flip-Top Packs of 80) Wipes for Women, Infused with Vitamin-E & Aloe
- Shower wipes- I CANNOT tell you enough how much I love these. They are sooo easy and make you feel super fresh in just a swipe! Goodwipes Really Big Body Wipes, Lavender Scent, Plant Based and Hypoallergenic, Wipe Away Sweat and Odor, for Face and Body, with Aloe and Ginseng (10 Count)
- Deodorant- Just better to not be smelly. 🙂
- Toothbrush and toothpaste – Sometimes they will have this already for you in your room once admitted. You never know. If you are unable to get out of bed, you can use a spit tray (usually comes with the brush and paste) and a care partner or nurse can help you.
- Hair brush- This wasn’t a must grab for me until I was hospitalized for 2 weeks and my hair turned into a matted mess. I had it up in a bun and had no idea. So now, I take a brush! Revlon Straight & Smooth Berry Paddle Hair Brush You should too! And some hair ties! I prefer scrunchies Chloven 45 Pcs Hair Scrunchies Velvet Elastics Hair Bands Scrunchy Hair Tie Ropes Scrunchie for Women Girls Hair Accessories Scrunchies – Great Gift for Holiday Seasons
Ok, well… I hope you have a big bag! HA! But seriously, I hope this list helps you or someone you know! Thank you so much for reading!