My hospital visits are usually quite lengthly and full of waiting on my guts to work. I’m sure some of these ideas won’t work for all circumstances, but perhaps a couple will make you think, “Man! That’s definitely going along for my next trip!” My hope is that some of these things will help make your hospital stays lots comfier and feel a little bit more like home. Some of them might even seem ridiculous, but when you’re feeling crummy and unable to even be in your own home, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do!
- Good bath towel — Because those hospital towels don’t cover a fly, and they’re rough as heck. Showering isn’t something that I get to do all that often when I’m in the hospital. But when the day rolls around that I get to, I want a GOOD shower. That also involves feeling great after the shower! A soft plushy towel is vital to making your showers at the hospital feel a little more like home!
- Hairdryer — Because you’re going to be cold when you get out of said shower, and wet hair doesn’t help when you’re cold! Burr! Some hospitals have a hairdryer or two on each floor, so it’s always worth asking for one if you forget. But I never count on that being the case!
Shampoo and Conditioner — Hospital toiletries usually aren’t the nicest smelling. They’re also usually some sort of weird multi-action thing, like shampoo/conditioner/body soap/tooth paste all in one. Yeah, not the best. I’ve even seen where they only had Johnson’s Baby Shampoo and that was it. So I always come prepared! Again, the shower needs to be a good shower!
- Dry-Pro — If you’ve got a PICC line or an IV that is keeping you from taking a nice shower, these things are life savers! They cover your arm, then you’re able to vacuum the air out to prevent water from getting in! It is absolute rubber heaven. Check them out here!
- Dry Shampoo — Life saver right here! If you’re in a bind, feeling gross, and unable to shower, this will keep you feeling fresh for at least a couple more days!
- *Ear Plugs or Sound Machine — ESPECIALLY if you’re going to have to share a room. All I have to say is sleep is vital to healing. The hospital isn’t an easy place to sleep in the first place, so take as much protection for sleep as you can! Here’s a link to my favorite sound machine!
- *Pillow and Blanket — Let’s be honest here, most hospital pillows are straight up plastic with a crunchy pillowcase over it. Which is great for sanitary reasons. But when you’ve got to sleep on plastic, sweat happens, and well, ew. Also, those sheets, they’re rough tough and starchy. Again with the, “sleep is vital to healing.”
- *Eye mask — Funnily enough, my husband and I sleep with eye masks on every single night. So there is no way I could sleep without it ever. But in a hospital even more so, there are blinking lights, most of the time someone comes in to steal some blood from you at 5:00am and turns all the lights on, the light from the hall is always seeping in under your door, so many annoying lights! This is our favorite brand of eye masks if you’re interested!
- Slippers — It’s a pretty general rule that an one point or another, you’ll be encouraged to walk around at the hospital. Some cute slippers can really help to encourage you to do so! Also, if you don’t have your own, you’re destined to being put in the brown rubbery socks!
- Comfy T-shirts and Pajamas — I for one absolutely hate any clothing the hospital supplies. The socks, the gowns, all of it! So I always pack my favorite soft t’s and leggings so I’m comfy and feel a little more like myself than if I was in a gown. Sometimes gowns are necessary, and for that I’d love to share a new brand I just recently saw called Gift Gowns, they’re so cute! They have the snaps on the sleeves and even have pockets I believe! While I don’t have personal experience with them, they look amazing! I might have to get one for any future visits to the hospital!
- Head Wraps — Usually when you’re in the hospital, it can get a little tough to shower with IV’s and tubes and all of that fun stuff. So I always like to have a head wrap (bandana, scarf, etc,) or two so I don’t feel completely disgusting when people visit my room. I just tie it around my head and it does a pretty great job of covering the greasy-ness! Greasy hair makes me feel so sad.
- Movies and Books — Chances are you’re going to get tired of watching The View and Gilmore Girl re-runs. So spice things up and bring some sources of entertainment from home! This might require bringing a laptop or tablet (which could include Netflix!) since lots of hospitals have strayed away from having movie players in the rooms. But laptops bring even more activities along, so go for it!
- Games — These go along with the entertainment side of things. But they’re different because usually you need more than just yourself to play one! So with this, have fiends come visit when you’re feeling up to it! And have something to do with them! Just because you’re in a hospital doesn’t mean you can’t have a little bit of fun! Some of my favorites are Scattergories, Rummikub, Yahtzee, and Boggle!
- Coloring Books — Sometimes when I’m sick I get bogged down about not feeling productive. Feeling like I can’t do anything because I’m stuck in a bed in a hospital. Although it might seem silly, if you can accomplish something as simple as coloring a picture and having someone hang it in your room for you, it makes you feel like you did something with your day. That’s a great feeling.
- Other Crafting Supplies — Maybe you crochet, knit, embroider, draw, etc.! Bring those easy to tote crafts along to keep you entertained too!
- Snacks — Now, this one totally depends on your situation. If you’re NPO, this one obviously does’t apply. But most people don’t love hospital food (I’m a total weirdo and happen to love it, but I’m the exception not the rule for the most part ha!) and it’s good to have some things from home that you love to snack on! Most hospitals have at least a microwave that you could use to make some meals of your own if you’re feeling up to it.
- Thank You Cards and Stamps — Sometimes people like to send flowers and other goodies when a friend is in the hospital, and it’s always nice to send them a sweet thank you note! It’s also something fun to accomplish (like with the coloring book pages I mentioned.)
- *Dressing Change Supplies — Not that they go under the fun essentials, but a little bit of a miscellaneous item. If you’ve got a central line of any kind and you’re allergic to any of the general supplies used to change dressings, it’s always a safe bet to take your own dressing supplies with you! Sometimes the hospital might not have the specific product you need, or they might have to go on a wild goose chase to find it! I even take my favorite tape and replacement feeding tubes along.
Now, this is not an, ‘I have to get to the ER ASASP,’ list! Though, several of these items would definitely still make it into that bag for me, and those are starred. Others I’d typically have someone bring up if I ended up being admitted to a room. ER doctors and nurses might look at you funny if you show up with a ton of crafts and a hairdryer!
I hope some of these ideas help any future hospital stays feel a little less sterile and a little more homey.
What are some of the things you take to the hospital that make it feel more like home?