What You Need To Know Before A Hospital Stay

What to take for a hospital stay

If you know someone going to the hospital, whether planned or not, this may be a way for you to help them out.

So this is a random topic for my site. But it is real life, and I would think many people have either been admitted themselves or know someone close to them that has been admitted to the hospital. We unexpectedly had a 27-day hospital stay a few months ago. Then we had a 10-day planned stay. Now we are back at the hospital, not sure how long yet.

One great thing about hospitals is they often provide a place for someone to spend the night. This brings lots of stuff (food, clothing, technology, office supplies, etc.) Linens are usually provided for the overnight guest. You need some comfy clothes for a long stay. Sweat pants or even scrubs would work. Although with scrubs, others may think you work there and ask for your help.

Our hospital has a shuttle van that takes you to and from the parking lot. Also, many times there are hotels nearby. Check to see if they have shuttle service to and from the hospital.


Bring some food to save money.


Let’s get to the important stuff first. You need the energy to take care of your family or friend. There could be a whole article written on this one topic alone.

When is the cafeteria open? Where are the vending machines? What is provided in the nourishment room? These are important questions.

There may be a book or brochure in the room with this information. What we found was this was outdated and not the correct hours.  Another option is to search the hospital’s website on your phone and take a screenshot of the hours. Or take a picture of the hours listed at the door to the cafeteria. They don’t have full menus during all those times, but at least you know when you can get some packaged food.

Vending could be just candy bars, cookies or crackers. Or it could also have sandwiches and items that can be microwaved. In the vending area and in the nourishment room you could find a microwave.

Drinks / Snacks – You can go to the cafeteria or vending, but it can be more cost effective to have some things with you. Also, if you don’t want to leave the side of the patient, it is nice to have in the room.

Bring small size drinks, small packs of cookies, crackers, etc. We even have a bag of mini candy bars to share with the staff as they come to take care of the patient. We would tell them, “You take care of my mom, we take care of you.” Not all will want sweets, but most did. You could come up with ideas of other treats to have for anyone that does not want sweets. I keep meaning to go by Dollar Tree and pick up a serving bowl to put them out for them.

Also, there are some non-refrigerated items that are little meals. You could have a Tuna Salad Kit with crackers, packets of mayo and pickle relish. Hormel has Hormel Compleats Meals that are not refrigerated.

As a side note, when you use the toaster in the cafeteria, check the setting to make sure the last person did not have it set for burned toast. Just saying… it has happened.


Clothing can really stack up.


Hangers – there is a closet, but no hangers. I keep thinking I will bring some. So take some. The last time we were here, it was summer. Now we have bulky jackets and/or sweaters for each of us. They are literally stacking up. I do know in the rehab/nursing facility wire hangers are not allowed.

Little wallet/purse – this time I have a new wallet. It is actually big enough for my auto key, and phone to fit in different parts of it. And it has a strap. Last time I had a smaller wallet, but it was a little big to fit in my pocket. So this one is much better.


Get connected.


Not sure how it is at your hospital, but the wifi at the one we are at is very sloooooow. Yes, it is available, but much better to use the data plan on my phone/tablet. Plus using my data plan means more security when using passwords to sign in to sites. Check with your phone company to see if there is a short term option to use more data, or if you need to bump up your usage and later go back down.

Charging Cords – make sure and bring the cords for each device. Or if you know far enough in advance, you can have an adapter with multiple connectors. Think about getting a longer cord. It may cost a little more for 6-foot or 10-foot cord, but well worth it since you may have to stretch a long distance to the outlet.

Multiport outlet – in our room, there is one outlet, but when you have multiple people, there are multiple devices (phones, tablets, etc.)

Earbuds – you are staying in a small area. You may not like the same TV program that the patient is watching. Even if you are not listening to anything on your device, you can still block out the sound of the TV, or other sounds.

Office Supplies

Dry Erase Marker – the staff will put info on the dry erase board, but there are times they forget to put when the next pain made can be taken. You could then put it there for your info. If there is enough room you can always use it to add other notes.

Scissors – there are so many times we needed scissors, and grateful we had a friend leave a pair.

Clipboard Notebook – There is a lot of paperwork to be signed along the way. Also, you may need to have different people helping at different times. Having a notebook helps to let everyone see the details of what has happened. Also, keep a list of questions you want to ask the doctor. No matter what is going on you can look at the list when they arrive. Or if someone else is with the patient when you need to be away, they can ask for you. Plus it can be used as a tray to eat on.


Hand sanitizer pump – there is a hand cleaner pump on the wall, but if the patient is bed-bound, they cannot reach it. So handy to have right on their table for them to use.

Ziploc bags – these are so handy for many things. You can bring some sandwich size and some gallon size. One gallon bag can hold other gallons and sandwich size to keep them all organized. We did find that the hospital where we went, had zip lock bags that they used to bring ice to the room. So if you forgot to bring some, you might be able to get one in the nourishment room.

Small garbage can – also the garbage can is too far for the patient to throw out things. We used a paper sack that could be emptied or replaced.

Cleaning wipes – I know, they clean the room. But when mom drops her phone on the floor, I want to clean it before giving it back to her. Sometimes there are wipes in the room, but there have been some rooms that did not have wipes.

Roller bag – A lifesaver. Today I saw someone carrying so many things in and so grateful I have a roller bag to carry things in and out. My favorite bag is the Genius Bag. It is genius, so many little compartments to stay organized.

Quarters – vending machines are available even when the cafeteria is not open. A friend brought us a roll of quarters one time. You can store extra quarters in a sandwich ziplock bag so you don’t have the extra weight to carry.

Ok, so that was everything but the kitchen sink. What else do you think would need to be added to this list? Comment below.

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