Preparing for an overnight hospital stay can be stressful and overwhelming. However, if you have the advantage of having time to prepare, you can improve your overall experience.
Kris Wright, director of corporate patient relations and guest services at Novant Health, offered advice on what patients should and shouldn’t bring to the hospital.
“I always recommend that patients bring their favorite slippers, reading materials and preferred toiletries,“ Wright said.
But there are some items better left at home.
“For safety reasons, patient room doors do not lock and we do not provide patients with lock boxes to store their valuables. Therefore, it’s best to keep all jewelry, large sums of money and personal electronic devices safely at home,” she explained.
Following are some other things to consider when packing your overnight bag for an upcoming hospital stay.
What to bring
Documents and paperwork. Organize all related paperwork in one folder, including admission forms, a current list of medications, insurance cards, power of attorney records and living will.
Toiletries. A disposable toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, deodorant, soap, shampoo, a comb or hair brush, and other toiletries can be brought from home. If you forget something, guest services can provide you with generic toiletries and other necessities.
Comfortable clothing. Consider bringing a change of clothes to wear once you are released from the hospital. You may also want to pack a robe, slippers and nightwear/loungewear for your overnight stay.
Hearing aids and batteries. It is important to bring your hearing aids with you so you can effectively communicate with your health care team. You should also bring extra batteries and a case to safely store them when they are not in use. A user manual or guide may also be helpful for the nursing staff if you require assistance with changing the batteries or need to troubleshoot any potential problems with your hearing aids.
Eyeglasses and dentures. It is highly recommended that if you wear eyeglasses or dentures that you bring cases for them to be stored when not in use. Often times these items are accidently discarded or lost by patients during their hospital stay.
What not to bring
Credit cards, large sums of money or jewelry. To ensure that valuable items are not lost or stolen, it’s best to keep them safely stored at home. Most hospitals do not offer patients access to safety deposit boxes.
Personal electronics. Cellphone use may interfere with electronic patient monitoring equipment and may not be allowed in some patient rooms. Other personal electronics, such as iPads, laptops and MP3 players, can be targets for theft.
Medications. For safety reasons, all medications may only be administered by the hospital's medical staff. This includes medications that may have already been prescribed by your primary care provider or specialist. However, you should bring a list of your medications to the hospital for review during the admitting process.
Guns and weapons. Most health care facilities prohibit guns and other concealed weapons on their property. If you unknowingly enter the hospital with a weapon, you should bring it to the attention of the staff and the public safety department will store any weapon until you are discharged.
“Our goal is to make our patient’s hospital stay safe, comfortable and convenient,” Wright said.
Don’t fret if you forget a needed item at home. Guest services may assist with special requests or address any questions you may have.
“It is not uncommon for our guest services team to replace hearing aid batteries, phone chargers, denture cream, even a favorite lipstick,” Wright said. “We do everything possible to make our patients comfortable during their stay so they can focus on healing.”