Hospital go bag

When both parents started going into the hospital a couple of times in rapid succession, we put together Hospital Go Bags with items needed for comfort, privacy, and entertainment. The document package stayed in our cars as well. We did use the bags thereafter.

Hospital Go Bag

Leave personal medications and tobacco products at home. Clean out wallet of credit cards and large amounts of cash. Leave jewelry at home. Hospital has no responsibility for stolen valuables. Policies may govern if you can have electronic devices. If you’re uncertain whether to bring a valuable, ask yourself if you’re willing to lose it. If not, keep it at home. With a small amount of money you can buy newspapers, etc.

If something goes wrong with a day surgery, you may be admitted to the hospital for a time. It’s best to plan for that contingency.

Inventory of the bag contents. Date when last inventoried.

Gov’t issued photo ID and insurance card

List of emergency contacts (phone numbers, hard copy), including primary physician, ride home, clergy

Healthcare documents such as personal health history (with allergies, conditions, medications [name, dose, administration times], doctors, immunizations, history of major illness and surgeries), dietary restrictions, Advance Health Care Directive (meds and procedures you either will accept or not accept), Power of Attorney for Healthcare, General limited or durable Power of Attorney, Living Will, optional Do Not Resuscitate (Allow Natural Death) order. Recent reports, x-rays. Bring documents in a single bag or envelop.

Crutches, walker, cane, other assistive devices for use after surgery.

Mobile phone and wall charger, extension cord. Hospitals may have a policy if electronic equipment interferes with patient monitoring equipment. Check before going if possible.

Dental hygiene items (brush, paste, floss)

Personal hygiene items: nail clippers, comb/brush, shampoo, conditioner, skin lotion, deodorant, lip balm, shower shoes (flip flops). Shaving kit. Feminine hygiene products.

Special needs products such as denture cream.

Eyecare (contact lens kit, glasses, cleaning cloth). Glasses may be easier to deal with than contacts.

Eye mask, ear plugs. Contrary to what you believe, you are not in the hospital to get rest. Staff may awaken you at such hours that it is difficult to sleep. Be prepared to complain. They can do better.

Full change of clothes, a couple of changes of underwear

Light robe? Non-slip slippers

Entertainment of some kind, cards, puzzle books, book/magazine to read, religious book

Notebook, pen. Note details of any incident, any verbal instructions that are not documented. Journal?

Photos of family, friends.

For kids, favorite (stuffed?) toy

Any other staff-recommended items for a planned hospital admission.


  • Comments (3)

    • 3

      While I understand things work differently in different countries, I would say it is a good idea to be aware of how ‘common’ your medicines are. 

      Large hospitals which serve big populations will usually carry most medications, but the further out you go the more limited stocks are; the hospital may hold some drugs only in the most used strengths and if you’re on something specialist they may not hold it at all!

      Obviously as an emergency admission there’s not much you can do, I’ve known A&E nurses call relatives to bring in supplies if possible. But if you are going in for an elective feel free to check with the hospital before you’re admitted! It will save you worry and save your medical team time! 

    • 2

      Even if planned it’s a planned admission, snacks. Sometimes you’ll miss meal service and it will be a bit before the next meal, or you don’t want hospital saltines as a snack. 

    • 1

      Very great list and something very few (myself included) actually prepare for.

      Here are two similar pieces of content that people might enjoy reading:

      How my wife and I packed and prepared for hospital births

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