How to Prepare for a Planned Stay in Hospital
- Make a List
- Comfort Clothing and Items
- Tote the Toiletries
- Bring the Familiar
- Keep Boredom at Bay
While it’s almost guaranteed that no one looks forward to it, there are ways of preparing for a hospital stay of any duration. Typically, the longer the visit, the more thoroughly one should plan. However, the list below can be applied for even the briefest sojourn.
1. List Important Information
Hospital stays and the reasons behind them are stressful. Patients are taxed by the rigors of recovery and can be forgetful, which can lead to potential complications when it comes to prescription interactions, medical history and details of prior care, and even food allergies or underlying dietary needs. Having all this information in one list within easy reach will set everyone at ease.
According to Kristine Crane, writing for U.S. News and World Report, listing important information beforehand can save headaches for patients and caregivers. This list should include names and information for current physicians and emergency contacts, any medications, and even dietary considerations. Included in the list should be formal wishes, insurance cards, and formal identification in case of emergencies.
2. Dress Casually
One of the most effective methods of preparing for a hospital stay is to bring cozy clothing. While individuals will need to consider which parts of the body doctors need access to, especially following surgery, cardigans, shawls, extra blankets, even sweatshirts can take the edge off chilly surroundings and provide comfort.
If individuals know they’ll have to remain in the hospital for any duration, flip-flops are also advisable. This prevents patients from walking barefoot on floors that are never as clean as they should be without the hassle of bending over to adjust the fit of slippers.
3. Bring Along Necessities and Toiletries
While hospitals provide the bare minimum of necessary toiletries for patient needs, they are just that. To increase comfort during an extensive stay, pack travel-sized shampoos, soaps, and bring familiar scents along for the duration. This will add a personal note to the experience and provide an often-unexpected layer of comfort for patients.
Another aspect to consider is personal care items—from tissues to ibuprofen. Hospitals charge patients for almost everything above and beyond a specific list of necessities. Individuals can avoid these extra charges by packing a bag of drugstore items—which can include diapers and baby lotion for new mothers or tissues, hand lotions, and a new toothbrush for all patients.
4. Bring the Familiar
Hospital rooms are decidedly Spartan and impersonal. Along with the chilly temperatures and elevated sleeping position advised for many patients, this can be disorienting and uncomfortable. Patients can bring things to mitigate this–a personal pillow from home or travel pillow, a sleep mask and earplugs to shut out unwanted light and noise at night, essential oils to soothe and help a patient relax, and even nightstand items, like special hand cream or family photos.
5. Pack Plenty of Books and Movies
Many veterans of hospital stays will advise patients to pack things to do. If family and friends offer to purchase books to while away the time, they should be sure the plots of these books don’t mirror the reason for the hospital stay too closely. Escapist literature is a bonus—and can be anything that occupies the mind, from histories to mysteries. If an individual isn’t into reading, books of crosswords or word search puzzles are also excellent.
One of the beauties of technology is that now, movies can be brought along on an extended hospital stay. If streaming services are supported by the hospital, various websites offer a plethora of binge-worthy series, documentaries, and movies. However, in case these aren’t available, a laptop computer and DVDs are welcome additions to any care package.
While there’s very little that will genuinely disguise a stint in the hospital as a vacation, it need not be the bare and comfortless experience it once was. It’s also easier than ever to plan ahead for medical emergencies and additional needs. Not all hospital stays begin as a surprise, and with a bit of planning, preparing for a hospital stay won’t be a hectic or last-minute process.