What Does Mom or Dad Need to Pack for the Hospital?
Most elderly people end up staying overnight in the hospital for one reason or another. It could be due to a scheduled procedure, surgery, or in an emergency situation. Regardless of the reason for the overnight hospital stay, your elderly parent should have an overnight bag filled with things they need. However, deciding what to pack for your mom or dad’s visit can leave some caregivers frustrated and overwhelmed.
Hospitals provide the very basics that their patients need to be comfortable and clean. Of course, this leaves out a lot of things that may help an elderly person get along for the duration of the stay. Everything from toiletries to clothing items can be brought from home. Some hospitals have banned certain items but for the most part, staffers don’t mind an overnight bag for patients.
So what should you pack for your elderly mom or dad as they face a hospital stay? It’s helpful to break it down into several categories that can be customized to fit your elderly parent’s needs.
This is the easiest one to do, because patients are given hospital gowns to wear. Any other clothing must come from home. Many seniors appreciate a robe or cardigan sweater to stay warm. Socks or slippers can protect feet from cold tile flooring. Some seniors want a hat or cap to wear as well. Of course, clean underwear is very important for every elderly patient.
Hospitals usually provide soap and hand sanitizer but that’s about it. Many seniors do best when they have soap, shampoo, and deodorant from home. Other necessary toiletries include a toothbrush and toothpaste, hair brush, makeup, shaving accessories, tissues, sanitary wipes, lip balm, and lotion. Avoid bringing perfume or bulky grooming products like hair dryers to the hospital—they won’t be allowed.
Hospitals can be very boring, so having things to do can be helpful for the elderly. If they are into tablets or readers, make sure you bring the chargers to the hospital room. Books and magazines can also help pass the time. Small games are fun to play with visitors, such as cards, puzzles, or dice. If your elderly parent does hand crafts like crocheting, that might also help them fill the hours.
Your aging parent should always have a written list of their history. Hospital staff change every shift and every day, so it’s good to have one source of information for all to read. The paper should have the patient name, preferred language, age, address, and medical history. Other good information to include is current medication and doses, any allergies, doctor contact information, and family caregiver contact information.
Although you might not need it, many caregivers include copies of relevant legal paperwork in their elderly parent’s overnight bag. Copies of insurance cards and health care documents are a good start. Things like power of attorney, living wills, and any do-not-resuscitate orders can help in stressful emergency situations.
There are numerous miscellaneous items that may make a difference in an elderly parent’s hospital visit. These can include a little cash, hearing aid batteries, notebook and pen, and even a small family photo.