Believe it or not, many patients booked for surgery have no idea what to bring to the hospital on the day of surgery. No kidding.
After all the consultations, bookings, tests, approvals, authorizations, patient letters and phone calls – on the night before surgery day, your patient is at home staring into an empty travel bag not sure where to start.
What to Pack for Hospital Stay
So we spoke to practice managers and schedulers from across the country and compiled the ultimate hospital packing list to send your patients.
Paperwork for Hospital Stay
Organize personal information as clearly as possible in a binder or folder. You may not be able to advocate for yourself post-op and you want to be sure that your family, friends, or doctor can locate information if they need it.
Your paperwork should include:
- Driver’s license or photo ID
- Copies of recent blood tests, x-rays, MRIs, and other clinical results
- List of allergies or sensitivities to ensure everything is noted in your medical record
- List of prescription and non-prescription meds
- Health insurance / Medicare / Medicaid cards
- Documents requiring your doctor’s signature
- Emergency phone numbers of family and friends
- Other preoperative documents (if applicable)
- Paper and pen
Cash and valuables
Leave all valuables, including money, watches, jewelry, and credit cards at home. Unfortunately, theft does occur in hospitals and the hospital and staff are not responsible for any lost valuables.
That said, you may want to bring a small amount of cash for magazines, newspapers, vending machine snacks, and so on. For medical bills payable at discharge, it’s recommended to ask a friend or family member to bring your credit cards or cash at that time.
Essentials for Hospital Stay:
- Warm socks
- Indoor footwear
- Pajamas. Note that you may be required to wear a hospital-supplied gown during your stay.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Clothing for the trip home
- Cell phone and charger
Optional Items for Your Hospital Packing List:
- Reading glasses
- Personal hygiene products, shampoo, conditioner, body soap, face wash
- Hand lotion and moisturizer (to protect against the dry hospital air)
- Hand sanitizer
- Extension chord
- Sleep mask
- Snacks – you may be hungry or thirsty outside meal time
Whether you are a laptop-Kindle or a book-knitting person, make a list of what you enjoy when you’re not feeling well. If you plan on bringing electronics, check the hospital policy first; some hospitals do not allow any electronics that require power outlets.
Be realistic about your hospital stay and don’t over-pack! If you’re planning an overnight or three-day stay, you may not need to bring all seven volumes of Game of Thrones.
Zip up your travel bag, and you’re good to go!
As you continue to prepare for surgery, check with your doctor or surgical scheduler if there’s anything special they recommend you bring with you.
Feel free to write in additional packing recommendations in the comments below for our readers.