You never know when an unexpected medical problem will interrupt your trip with a hospital visit.
Here is a list of useful items to take with you.
Even better, if you (or a family member) are about to go to hospital, or you frequently require admission, why not make an admit kit.
A small pre-packed bag with your name & contact number clearly attached to it. Store in your RV, or if you are at home in your wardrobe or under your bed and quickly grab it for that planned or unplanned hospital trip.
It includes a few essential items to get you by and saves you having to suddenly rummage around for the things you (or your partner) might need.
Things to take:
Toiletries. Spare toothbrush, toothpaste and other personal hygiene items.
Clothing. One set of pyjamas is good, because hospital gowns are uncomfortable, un-fetching, and make you feel like you are a patient. One set of comfortable clothing such as track suit pants and top. Slippers or other slip on shoes.
Medical records Printed copies of relevant medical history and a list of your current medications and allergies is really useful (do not take originals). If you have completed your advance care directive ( and you should), include this.
I have written more about advance care directives here.
Phone/electronics charger. These days most hospitals will have some sort of public charging station or a charger that you will be able to use. These items are always under heavy use and may be damaged or unavailable.
Headphones. A small set of spare headphones to use with your phone so you can listen to music, podcasts, audiobooks, or even watching a movie if there is good wifi.
Don’t pack your most expensive pair.
Mobile phone. Whilst it won’t be kept in your Admit kit, this is probably one of the most essential things you are going to need in hospital. But take care! They are easily misplaced or damaged.
Ear Plugs: Another essential bit of kit to ensure you get some rest when sharing a room with another person sawing wood all night long. Not to mention the nurses yapping away at their desk at 2 am.
Eye Mask. As with the earplugs, an eye mask can greatly improve your chances of getting a decent nights sleep in a shared room. You can purchase them from most pharmacies.
Book. A good (thick) book or two. You could take your Kindle if you have one. But having a couple of good books in your admit kit means you will always have something ready to go. Books are more robust, and you can swap or give them to someone else once you have finished.
Torch. Yes your bed will have a personal light. But having a small torch handy can make that middle-of-the-night toilet trip or rummage around in your bedside locker much less disturbing for others.
Notebook and pen. A cheap disposable notebook is invaluable for writing down questions you want to ask the doctors or nurses and recording other important information.
iPad. Really useful for staying connected (most hospitals now have free wi-fi networks), keeping copies of medical records etc, and entertaining yourself. But there is a risk it could be damaged.
Large zip-lock bag. This is for storing any paperwork that you get whilst in hospital. Admission forms, discharge forms, follow-up appointment details, discharge advice….that sort of stuff.
Pack of cards. If you are old school and enjoy a good game of solitaire, this could be useful. Other popular items to keep you occupied include: Book of crossword or Sudoku puzzles, or some knitting.
Things to leave at home.
Anything expensive or valued. Apart from some electronic necessities such as your smart phone and perhaps your iPad, expensive items should be left at home. Hospital rooms are usually crowded and busy and furniture (beds, tables etc) are constantly being moved around. It is SO easy for stuff to get broken or damaged or even lost during your stay. And it is not unknown for property to be stolen from busy ward environments.
As part of your admission paperwork you usually sign some sort of waiver relieving the hospital of any responsibility for damage to your property that does occur, so take care.
Lots of stuff. Storage space is limited and you may move locations one or more times during your stay. The more stuff you bring in, the more likely something will be lost.
Large sums of cash. You will not require large sums of money whilst in hospital.
Drugs. Never take any form of recreational drugs into hospital. Do not take in extra personal analgesia to use. If you need painkillers, just let the staff know.
If you use ‘complimentary’ medicines or herbal supplements you should let the nursing or pharmacy staff know (some of these medicines can interfere or interact with medication you are prescribed whilst in hospital).
Laptop computer. Unless you absolutely need your laptop during your stay in hospital, I would recommend leaving it at home.
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