What Should I Take to the Hospital?
Last updated: August 2022
I wanted to share some things you might want to be aware of if you ever find yourself admitted to the hospital.
Preparing information for an emergency visit
Even before the hospital, is there anything you should have on hand in case the paramedics might be called? If you are someone who is at risk of a heart attack or exhibiting symptoms of a heart attack, in my experience, the paramedics may perform an EKG. This is a commonly used diagnostic tool. However, if you are someone who typically has an abnormal EKG, it is hard to determine if there are changes. In my opinion, I would recommend thinking about having a copy of a recent EKG in your house somewhere, or any other test result, that might be useful in assessing your condition under an emergent setting.
What I recommend bringing to the hospital
Pillows, pajamas, night-time routine supplies
For the hospital, you can have your own pillow, as well as any pajama pants or comfy socks too. There is also a bathroom, and if you are able to get out of bed by yourself to use it, any items that are a part of your nighttime routine are available to use; like mouthwash, facewash, etc. A nurse can always help you to the bathroom. Even if you are not that mobile, for instance, a nurse can bring a toothbrush or any other oral hygiene products and a bowl of water so you can brush your teeth. You will probably also have a shower if you want to use that as well! If you are someone who needs help with that at home, a nurse can help you shower in the hospital. If you use contacts, don't forget any extra contacts or contact solution.
It can also be a bit loud and noisy at night, so I would consider an eye mask, ear plugs (or ask for some), and any earbuds to use a meditation app or listen to music to help you sleep. You are not guaranteed a private room, so any noise-canceling headphones could be helpful.
As far as food, you can order room service in the hospital when you are admitted. In my experience, the food is not bad and there can be a decent selection. You might also be under dietary or liquid restrictions, so you may be limited to what outside food you can bring in and/or may be restricted to a certain menu, like a heart smart menu as an example. However, if the food adheres to the guidelines and you talk with your nurses, you can ask people to bring food, snacks and/or drinks to the hospital as well. Keep in mind that you might have time to wait in the emergency room (ER) before going up to your room if you are admitted, so any snacks (that remain in compliance with medical restrictions) might want to be considered as well.
Electronics are important too. Do NOT forget a phone charger and any other electronic devices (and their chargers) that you might want to bring, like a laptop, tablet, etc. Also, if you have a handy extension cord for your phone grab it. It's easier if your phone can make it to the bed, and depending on the room setup, without some sort of extension chord your phone might not easily make it to the bed while charging. Again, every hospital room is different, so it just depends on where you are.
Lastly, and very importantly, bring your medicines. You probably will not be able to keep them with you, but bring them too. If you keep a list of your medications, dosages, etc., I would bring a copy of that as well just to make things a bit easier if you are moving between the emergency department and the general hospital.
Do you have recommendations on what to bring to the hospital?
Do you have a heart failure story? Click the button below to share with our community!
Besides heart failure, do you have any other chronic medical conditions?
Join the conversation