Spending significant amounts of time in hospital can be emotionally and physically demanding, but taking some home comforts with you may help you to feel more relaxed and at ease.
I have spent my entire life going in and out of hospital, so I have my inpatient hospital bag down.
I have cystic fibrosis (CF), a life-threatening chronic illness that causes passageways in my lungs and digestive system to become blocked with thick sticky mucus.
Due to the nature of CF, I am at a much higher risk of picking up lung infections, and even a slight cold can land me in hospital. Usually, these admissions are for intravenous antibiotics and last around two weeks.
My CF has also impacted other parts of my body, and I suffer from pancreatitis, which sees me in A&E relatively frequently and as an inpatient in hospital for extended periods of time.
I always like to take as much as I can into hospital in terms of home comforts, to make the experience as comfortable as possible because going into hospital isn’t exactly relaxing or fun. I find it so crucial for my mental health as spending two weeks trapped in one room can be so overwhelming.
While it obviously depends on the nature of your admission, how long you are in for and if you have time to plan beforehand, here are some suggestions of what to pack for a hospital stay.
- A laptop/tablet with pre-downloaded films or TV shows
- Snacks in case you are hungry in between meal times or don’t like hospital food
- Squash to make the constant jugs of lukewarm water more bearable to get down
- Juice – mini cartons may be a better shout. You can ask nurses to keep the rest in the fridge, so they don’t get hot.
- Dry shampoo – in case you don’t have the energy to wash your hair.
- Baby wipes – if you can’t shower.
- Blanket – it can get cold at night.
- Chargers – for any devices you bring but especially your phone charger.
- Portable charger – in case your bed isn’t near any sockets.
- Toothbrush and paste
- Ear plugs
- Eye mask
- A fan
- Your favourite beauty or hair products – once you start to feel better or get more energy, they can help you feel a bit more human.
Cecilia-Joy Adamou, a disability campaigner and writer, has spent lots of time as an inpatient after she was diagnosed with a brain tumour and had to have a heart and kidney transplant.
Most recently, she was admitted for atrial flutter (arrhythmia).
She suggests packing books, eye masks, chargers, an iPad, cosy pyjamas and a teddy or blanket.
‘Something from home to snuggle is a must,’ she tells Metro.co.uk. ‘And noise cancelling headphones are essential. I know they are an investment, but they have saved me during busy nights on the ward.
‘Also, pack a hairbrush and a nice smelling shower gel as the ones they provide don’t smell nice.’
Swiss technical sleepwear company, Dagsmejan have developed pyjamas alongside sleep scientists that have been scientifically proven to increase the quality and length of your sleep by keeping your body at an optimum temperature.
‘This is perfect for spending nights in hospital to ensure you get enough quality sleep, plus there is also a maternity range (and baby range) for new mothers going into hospital to give birth,’ a spokesperson for the company told Metro.co.uk.
‘Depending on whether you’re a hot or cold sleeper, they have many collections available such as Stay Warm, Balance, Relaxwear, Recovery and Stay Cool.’
Writer and podcast producer, Hannah May has complex chronic illnesses and has spent lots of time in and out of hospital. Right now, she is planning for a three-week inpatient stay.
‘Make sure to take an eye mask, earplugs, noise cancelling headphones, a hot water bottle or microwave heat pack (if the nurses are feeling nice, they’ll do them), cool and soothe strips for headaches/migraines and a soft scarf or shawl,’ she suggests.
Shubhangi Mittal, a freelance content writer, got a severe viral allergy with hives all over her body last spring and spent almost twelve hours in a waiting room.
She suggests taking a Kindle, a power bank, snacks, a water bottle, a coffee tumbler, and a cushion to help with the plastic chairs, earphones and cosy socks.
Gemma Ellis, a 39-year-old from the High Peak, was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer ER and HER2 positive when she was 34.
After spending significant amounts of time in hospital, she decided to set up Stage4DeservesMore to provide people in the UK who have been diagnosed with secondary breast cancer with free care packages for when they are in hospital.
People who need them are able to request the packs online, and everything included has been donated by supporters who purchase items off the Amazon Wish List.
Patient support packs include:
- Eye masks
- Tea bags
- Hand cream
- Lip balm
- Foot pack
- Scented candles
- Charger wires
- Plug adapters
- Restaurant gift cards
- Fidget toys
‘Recently, I have had a few unexpected hospital admissions and found myself with no supplies, so we have been doing some extra fundraising to provide cancer hospitals/wards around the UK emergency care packs,’ Gemma writes on her website.
Hospital emergency packs include:
- Mini face towel
- Lip balm
- Bar of soap
- Mino body wash and shampoo
- Word search and pen
- Hand cream
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