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Top 10 things to pack for your hospital stay

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Preparing for a hospital stay, especially for an extended period, is essential for ensuring comfort and peace of mind. While hospitals provide basic necessities, bringing personal items from home can make a significant difference in your experience. 

Familiar items can create a sense of comfort and normalcy, helping you feel more at ease during your stay. Here’s a comprehensive list of items to consider packing to enhance your hospital experience.

Personal care items

Radiation therapy and certain types of chemotherapy can cause your skin to become dry and itchy, so bring your favorite creams, chapstick, and eye drops to keep your skin hydrated and your lips moisturized. Hospital air can be dry, so having these personal care items will help you feel more comfortable and maintain your skin’s health.

Back scratcher 

In addition to bringing creams to help relieve dry skin from treatment, a back scratcher can help you reach itchy spots in hard-to-reach places without needing assistance from others.

Toiletries

Although the hospital will provide some basic toiletries, think about items you would pack on a road trip. Things like dental floss, nail clippers, nail filers, and tweezers are easily forgotten, but essential for when you have a pesky hang nail or food stuck in your teeth.    

Soft blanket or robe

Cancer treatments can reduce your red blood cell count and make you feel cold, so having a soft blanket or a cozy robe can provide warmth and comfort. These items can also help you feel more at home in an unfamiliar environment.

Pillow/port pillow

Bringing your own pillow can drastically improve the quality of your sleep. Hospital pillows may not offer the support you are used to, so having your own can make a big difference. If you have a chemotherapy port, you may want to bring a port pillow for the car ride to and from the hospital to provide a cushion between the seatbelt and your chemo port for extra comfort.

Comfortable clothing

Loose or button-up pajamas and zip-up hoodies are ideal as they make it easier for hospital staff to tend to you without causing discomfort while helping you stay warm. Fuzzy socks can keep your feet cozy and non-slip slippers are crucial for safe movement around your room.

Eyemasks and earplugs

Hospitals can be bright and noisy throughout all hours, which can disrupt your sleep. An eye mask can help block out light, and ear plugs can reduce noise, helping you get the rest you need.

Entertainment/hobbies

Since hospital WiFi can be slow or unreliable, pre-download shows, movies, books, or music to keep yourself entertained. Don’t forget to bring your noise-canceling headphones to reduce the hospital sounds. A deck of cards, adult coloring books, or a journal may also be helpful to pass the time and shift your focus.

Snacks 

Your hospital may not have your favorite snacks that you crave, so pack a few of your favorite treats to have readily available. Additionally, some forms of chemotherapy and radiation can cause a metallic taste in your mouth, so bring some hard candies to help eliminate that taste. If you experience nausea, ginger chews may ease your stomach. Be sure to also pack a water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the day.

Extra long chargers 

Hospital rooms often have limited outlets and most are used for medical equipment. Bringing an extra-long charger ensures you can keep your devices powered up from any outlet in the room.

By preparing for your hospital stay, you can create a more comfortable and manageable environment that supports your well-being during a challenging time. Taking the time to pack these essentials can enhance your experience and make you feel more supported.

If you have any questions, you can connect with an Outcomes4Me oncology nurse practitioner at no charge through the Outcomes4Me app, using the “Ask Outcomes4Me” button.

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