What I Pack In My Hospital Bag

Being admitted to the hospital is always the last thing you want. But if you live with many chronic illnesses, as I do, it’s better to be prepared.

I learned this many years ago after I was admitted a couple of times and had to try and tell my family what I needed and where it could easily be found. So after that, I always have a hospital bag packed and ready to be safe.

Also, if I am having surgery with the possibility of being admitted, I also have a bag just in case. It’s best to be prepared for everything.

Must-have items to bring to the hospital

These lists just work for me, so you may need to modify them for your needs.

Let’s take a quick look at what I keep in my hospital-ready bag and what I try to keep in my car:

Items I keep in my car

I learned the hard way quite a while ago that it’s best to keep certain things in my car just in case I go to urgent care or the ER and don’t have my bag with me. 

  • A phone charger
    6-10 ft cord because plugins are usually not in the most convenient places, as well as the box plugs into the wall. Nothing is more annoying than being stuck somewhere and having a dead phone, so you can’t call anyone.
  • Extra feminine products
    No explanation is necessary.
  • Extra change of clothes
    I try to keep an extra set of leggings, a shirt, socks, and undergarments in my car. Because you never know.

Hospital bag

Packing a hospital bag is going to look different for everyone. As everyone has different preferences, the items below are just what has worked for me over the last eight years.

Pants and tops
I bring a minimum of two pairs of pants, such as leggings, joggers, or lounge pants. Or shorts if that’s your preference. I also pack several short and long-sleeved tops.

Pajamas
I rarely wear matching pajamas when I am home, so I pack the same way. I try to keep a long night short or a couple of pairs of pajama pants and wear the t-shirts that I mentioned above.

Every hospital and unit have different policies as to if you have to wear a gown or if you can wear your clothes.

Underwear

When it comes to packing these items, I pack like I would for a vacation. I always have at least one pair of underwear for my most extended stay in the past.

But I would suggest at least 4-5 because you never know what might happen and how many you’ll need.

Bras

I don’t pack more than maybe two sports bras, and you can wear them multiple days, and it’s just not my biggest worry.

Socks

I don’t like wearing socks at home, so I don’t pack more than a couple of pairs of socks. If you don’t have shoes or slippers, generally the hospital will give you a pair of those wonderful grippy socks to keep you from falling.

Cami/tanks

I always have a few in my bag because most floors will allow you to wear a tank, even with a gown.

Slippers or flip-flops

These are a MUST! As an RN who worked bedside for many years, trust me when I say you don’t want to walk around on those floors barefooted.

Slippers vs flip flops

This is honestly just preference. I always have a pair of flip-flops in my bag because they can double as shower shoes. But just pack whatever makes you more comfortable.

Personal Care

When packing a hospital bag, I advise getting all of the sample-size items at Walmart and Target to pack. Get a gallon-size Ziploc freezer bag and put all your personal care and toiletries in the bag, so it's not a mess if they leak. 

They will give you the essentials but trust me when I say you’ll want your own.

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Chapstick
  • Shampoo and hair brush
  • Lotion

Miscellaneous items

  • Ear plugs
  • Puzzle book or book if you feel like reading.
  • Sunglasses. Especially if you are being admitted for or deal with frequent migraines

Electronics

Again this will be preference and what you need. I always take:

Earbuds

AirPods, headphones, whatever you have. I recommend cheap, so if they get lost or stolen, you are not out much money. I bring these to watch television, listen to music, or a podcast, without bothering my neighbor.

Phone charger

Block and charging cable. 6-10 feet long is ideal.

iPad or Kindle

If you take these items, you have to be careful. Remember that things can get stolen.

Comfort items

Everyone is going to need/want different things while they are in the hospital. For me, I always take my fleece throw blanket and pillow.

That being said, those items never go back on my bed, and it is easier to have a set pillow and blanket that stay with my bag in case someone else has to bring me my bag.

What are your hospital bag must-haves?

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