While time spent in the hospital is rarely enjoyable, packing some of your your own personal belongings can help you feel at least a little closer to home.
The following hospital packing list includes the 10 most important things to bring with you when you are admitted to the hospital:
1. Legal Documents
During the admission process, you will be asked to provide the hospital with the following legal documents:
- Driver's license or identification card
- Insurance cards
- Copy of power of attorney, living will and/or advance directive (if applicable)
2. List of Medications
A complete list of medications is one of the most important things that you will need upon admission to the hospital, yet one of the most commonly overlooked. Be sure to include the following on your list:
- Name of medication
- Dosage of medication
- Frequency of medication
- Time of last dose
3. List of Important Phone Numbers
Providing the hospital with a list of important phone numbers will ensure that family and close friends will be notified in the event of an emergency. Be sure to include complete names and phone numbers, including area codes.
4. Small Amount of Cash
While it is best to leave credit cards at home, a small amount of cash will allow you to purchase a newspaper or other items from the vending machine. To avoid the possibility of theft, keep money in an inconspicuous place, like a sock or tied bandana.
5. Comfortable Clothing
Most patients will tell you that there is nothing worse than a hospital gown, so bringing your own comfortable clothing is a must. Items that you may want to pack include:
- Nightgown or pajamas
- Robe and slippers
Remember too, that you may be required to wear a heart monitor or have an IV while in the hospital, so loose clothing is best.
When you check into the hospital, don't forget your glasses if you wear them. You will be required to sign consent forms and other hospital documents which may be impossible to read without them.
7. Prepaid phone card
Many hospitals do not allow cell phones, so bringing a prepaid phone card will help you stay in close contact with family members and friends during your hospital stay.
While many hospitals supply basic toiletry items such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, they are usually of lower quality and may be undesirable to some patients. Bringing your own toiletries may work best for you.
8. Don't Forget Entertainment
Let's face it, hospitals are not designed to be entertaining and things can get pretty boring laying around in bed all day. Bringing a few of your favorite things will not only help you pass the time, but will help keep your mind off of your illness, too. Here are a few suggestions:
- Books or magazines
- Crossword puzzles
- Knitting or crochet
- Cell phone
- Journal to record your thoughts
- iPod, radio or CD player
9. Family Photos
Surrounding yourself with family photos will help keep those who are closest to you near and dear during your hospital stay. They will also remind hospital staff that you are a real person, and not just a medical record number.
10. Eye Covering and Ear Plugs
If you are bothered by lights, bringing something to cover your eyes with during rest or sleep will help you remain undisturbed should the lights be turned on. A set of earplugs also work well if you are sensitive to noise.
Remember, most hospitals will advise you during the admission process that they are not responsible for personal belongings that are lost or stolen during hospitalization. With this in mind, it is best to leave valuable items, such as jewelry, wallets or purses, at home.