Things for the Hospital


General Notes

Please remember that your stay on a regular hospital floor may be quite short. Patients are often discharged within a day of getting a room. It’s a good idea not to bring so many items that it becomes overwhelming to keep track of them.

Discharge can be a very chaotic time, and it’s easy to leave something behind. Therefore, it’s better not to bring irreplaceable things even if they have no monetary value, e.g. a photo you can’t replace. Even though hospitals have a lost and found department, your schedule may not permit you to get back to retrieve the lost item.

If you have a partially used item that the hospital has provided, feel free to take the remainder home with you because you have paid for the entire package or item.

This list is appropriate for patients who have a longer stay in the hospital and those who may be transferred to an inpatient rehabilitation facility. We’d encourage you to pare it down for if you are anticipating just a few days of inpatient time.

Must Haves

  • Comfortable Clothing: Sweats (Elastic waistbands are good because sometimes fingers aren’t so nimble for tying) and a Front-zip sweatshirt (even if you can only get one arm in because of the IV, it is very comfortable and you don’t feel so “naked” in that gown)
  • Tennis shoes or slippers (for cruising the halls)
  • Socks from home
  • Amenities – Toothpaste and Toothbrush, Deodorant, Chapstick, and Q-tips
  • Earplugs!  This is a biggie, especially after the drugs wear off.
  • Sleep Mask
  • Glasses (if you wear them)
  • Cell Phone (and charger) for family to use outside of the hospital and for pictures
  • Prepaid phone card if you will be making long distance calls from in the room
  • Tums, Rolaids, etc.
  • Medications—this must be cleared through the doctor/nurse…but will save gobs of money on insurance billing from the hospital

For Women:

  • Make-up if you use it (photo-ops can come at odd times)
  • Scarves so you don’t have to worry about your hair
  • Cotton undies
  • Personal Hygiene items for menstrual cycle

For Men:

  • Shaving Cream and Razor (electric might be best because you may not be coordinated enough to use a blade)
  • Boxers or Briefs
  • Baseball hat for photos

For Kids:

  • Transitional objects like blankets or stuffed animals, but keep careful track of the items, particularly at discharge time. Most hospitals will allow a child to take a favorite item into the operating room.
  • Small toys that can be played with in bed. Children’s hospitals will have a Child Life department that can provide toys, but nothing beats familiar toys during this difficult time.
  • Bottles, bottle brush, dishwashing detergent for children who are still using a bottle. You may need to provide formula if you use something other than the standard Enfamil or Similac.
  • Diapers and wipes – hospitals use the cheapest brands.

To Help Make Your Stay Seem a Little More Like Home
(For Family and Friends, Too)

  • Family photos
  • Your own pillow with soft pillow case
  • MP3 player and your favorite music
  • Nice smelling lotion
  • Small handheld games
  • Cooler with refreshments so guests aren’t always running to get drinks and snacks
  • Laptop + battery pack
  • Headphones (the ear-bud kind).  Most TV’s allow you to plug into it, so you don’t have to worry about waking up your roommate.
  • Magazines, books, paperwork, bills (anything to keep you busy)
  • DVD movies if TV is equipped with a player
  • Paper Towels
  • Plastic silverware
  • Drinking straws

Miscellaneous Items

  • Extra bags to bring all the cards/stuffed animals home
  • Clothes hangers
  • Linen bag for dirty laundry
  • Aspirin / Ibuprofen for visitors
  • Neck pillow for traveling home