Recently, we had to get my father-in-law admitted to the hospital on an emergency basis. We had come for a routine checkup and did not expect him to get admitted like this. During this helter-skelter, we missed out on carrying many things and had to run home to get his stuff.
It was not just mindboggling but very tiring (we are also in our 40s already 😉). Luckily our house is located in the vicinity, so luck favoured us. However, this situation was a big eye-opener for me. I realised, just like us, many people might be catering to elderly parents and might have encountered such a situation. Therefore, if you are wondering “what to pack for hospital stay,” I got you covered.
What to pack for hospital stay – Helpful Tips
Let’s check some tips for a peaceful hospital stay, especially for ageing parents.
The entire file of all health reports
First on the list when it comes to what to pack for hospital stay, is to carry all health reports. Even if you are going for a routine checkup, don’t forget to carry the file of your elderly parent.
Believe me, this file is a boon for the doctor to know the case history and decide the course of action. Don’t just inform them verbally; the numbers in the report give them a clear idea of things to plan. It also helps in determining the hospital stay.
Besides, carry their current medications, so the doctor knows their medicine intake.
Carry identification documents
Every hospital asks for identification – either Aadhar or Pancard. So, saving it on your mobile phone or carrying it with you is best. Last-moment hassles or making constant trips home will drain you mentally and physically. So, keep these documents handy.
The most important aspect of a hospital stay is billing. Nowadays, everyone opts for insurance. So, if you are one of them, keep your insurance documents ready too. Check if the hospital is associated with your insurance company. If not, visit their insurance department and notify them about the same. The department will guide you about the next course of action.
Next in what to pack for hospital stay is carrying some comfy clothes. Now my father-in-law is on the catheter. Therefore, he can’t wear pyjamas or trousers, so he wears a lungi. Besides, wearing a lungi is non-fussy and very comfortable, especially for elderlies. Also, keep a pack of socks handy if they feel cold.
Personal care items
It’s best to use your own towel, brush and even toothbrush because elderlies love their comfort and don’t like things to be unchanged. So, ensure to carry all their personal care items. Most importantly, my father-in-law is scared when admitted to the hospital and feels weak. So, we constantly keep a napkin with him, which also acts as a bib. After all, elderlies eventually become kids in old age. So, be it!
Also, carry talcum powder to make them feel fresh after the sponging. Additionally, have a comb handy to make them think handsome.
Carry an empty box
Most of the elderlies have dentures, specs or other belongings. So, to safeguard them, it’s best to carry a big utility box where you can keep all this stuff. The box will stay in the hospital, and the ageing parent will keep watching it and heave a sigh of relief that their valuable are around them.
This is the most crucial thing to pack for a hospital stay. Now we have a medicine organiser, and we have organised medicines daily. It helps keep meds in one place, and you can’t miss a single dose. Besides, the hospital may also add some dosage or medicines, which can be organised in the medicine box.
It’s been three years since my father-in-law was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Sometimes, his catheter leaks, and to avoid this constant dampness, we prefer diapers. However, when you stay in a hospital, the management may wear the diapers from their stock and add them to your bill.
Therefore, to avoid such an expense, it’s best to carry your set of diapers. Also, inform the management so they won’t use diapers from their stock and mark them in your billing cycle.
Keep a set of books or notebooks
My father-in-law is not educated, so he cannot read properly. However, he loves seeing the pictures in newspapers and books. So, ensure to have newspapers or books for their entertainment. You can also keep a notebook handy on which they can scribble and can pass some time.
An extra blanket
Some elderlies do not like using the blanket or bedsheets of the hospital. If you think your parent falls in the same category, carry extra bedding and a blanket to make them feel cosy.
Tips on what to do and what to pack for hospital stay as a caregiver
Now if you are going to stay in the hospital with your loved one, you must also know the things to carry and tips to undertake after a hospital stay like –
- Mobile charger because you might want to call someone in an emergency, and the battery drains out.
- Laptop – if you wish to “work from the hospital”.
- A book to pass the time. Or pen and paper to scribble something or pen down your thoughts.
- As soon as you rush home, soak all your clothes in hot/warm water and wash them. You never know what germs your clothes may carry.
- Take a shower after a hospital stay.
- Keep your toiletries and extra clothes handy in case you stay far and the hospital stay extends.
- Keep your headphones, in case you need to listen to music, because it is bad manners to listen to music on a speaker. You might be disturbing other patients.
- Room fresher because some might not like the smell of the hospital. So, keep it handy.
Over to you…
So, what to pack for a hospital stay for elderlies and caregivers? Here is the list. If you wish to add something I might have missed, feel free to add it. Till then, take care and may your loved one recover soon!