While no one looks forward to a hospital stay, unless you’re coming to deliver your baby, there are a few things you can pack to make your time more comfortable. We sat down with the Roper St. Francis chief nursing officers (CNOs) to discover some of the items they recommend bringing, and perhaps even more importantly, what you should leave at home.
The essentials are the items you need to bring to ensure the registration process goes smoothly and that your care team has what they need. So before you pack anything else, be sure you have the following:
- A picture ID(driver’s license or other ID)
- Your insurance card and co-pay
- A list of all the medications you are taking
- Any relevant hospital paperwork
- A copy of your Advance Directives
“During most of your stay you will want to wear the hospital gown, but there is that point where you’ll be ready to switch to your own PJ’s,” says Carolyn Donohue, CNO for Roper Hospital. To go with your PJs, consider bringing a pair of non-skid slippers or socks and a robe.
Pennie Peralta, CNO for Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital adds that if you are a light sleeper ear plugs and a sleep mask can be helpful along with a favorite pillow, but she also warns, “I would not bring anything that I would be upset about losing, therefore I’m not bringing my favorite blanket!”
There can be a lot of down time while you are busy healing, so Tavia Buck, CNO for Mount Pleasant Hospital recommends bringing a book, magazines or crossword puzzles and what many people forget – a charger – if you are bringing an electronic device. You should also plan on bringing some basic toiletry items such as a toothbrush and paste, lotion, hair brush, cleanser and dry shampoo.
Finally, consider bringing a picture of someone or something you love. Focusing on this can help you get through any times that may be difficult.
What to Leave at Home
The one thing each of the CNOs feel most strongly about when it comes to packing for your hospital stay is not what to bring, but what to leave at home:
You should not bring jewelry, cash, expensive electronics or anything of value with you to the hospital.
“Keep in mind that if you bring something of value with you, it can get lost. You should either leave items, such as your phone, at home, with a family member or in the hospital safe when you are going for a procedure or test,” says Donohue.
Also, don’t plan on packing any tobacco products or highly scented perfumes or lotions. If you have any questions about your upcoming hospital stay, please ask we’re happy to help.