What should I pack in my go bag?

Everyone packs differently, and this list keeps growing, so don’t expect that you must have every item on these lists – but consider is a starting point for developing your own go-bags.

Patient Items

  • Pajamas – one set per day (minimum), button up for easy port access
  • Socks with grippy soles, at least one pair per day
  • Grippy slippers
  • Diapers – a day’s supply to handle needs before admission and on the way home. Hospital will provide diapers and wipes during stay.
  • Drugs – hospital will provide whatever drugs needed during the stay, but plan for drugs needed on the way to and from the hospital
  • A sweatshirt or jacket (depending on weather), just in case
  • Light blankets from home – one per day
  • Hats – comfy, soft, to keep bare head warm (but not too warm)
  • Favorite snacks
  • Good working water bottle
  • Snugglies – pack two or three of something to cuddle with at night
  • Toys – the hospital will have playrooms but they aren’t always available. Bring favorite toys to play with in bed and on the go.
  • Playmat – for days you can’t leave the hospital room it’s really nice to be able to spread out and sit and play on the floor.
  • Tablet, phone or DVD player with favorite movies, TV shows, etc. We use an iPad, so we bring a iPad to HDMI adapter to plug into the hospital TV.
  • USB battery packs and USB chargers for all devices. Recharge everything overnight, always.

Parent Items

  • Clothing
    • Comfortable street clothes for travel to and from the hospital. Jeans, t-shirt, a sweatshirt or flannel, and easy shoes. These won’t get much use in the hospital, but may need them for a quick trip outside, or on the way home.
    • Light sweatpants or pajama pants – one pair per day. In the hospital focus on comfort, period. It’s never hot inside, usually on the cool side.
    • Thick socks – more than one per day, most of the time this is all I’ll wear on my feet unless I leave the unit. I don’t wear slippers, but if you prefer them to walking around in socks, bring slippers.
    • Underwear – two per day. Can’t ever go wrong with fresh undies.
    • T-shirts – I bring 1 or 2 t-shirts per day. My uniform, for sleep and daytime. Always nice to have a clean shirt when you can’t squeeze in a shower.
  • Hygiene
    • toothbrush and toothpaste
    • 3-in-1 (shampoo + conditioner + body wash)
    • allergy meds (3x the number of days)
    • Benadryl (you never know)
    • Tylenol or Excedrin
    • nasal spray
    • lotion
    • wipes
    • chapstick
    • nail clippers
    • anything else you might need for dry, cool air
    • razor and shaving cream
    • Any other hygiene or medications you can’t live without – remember, even though you’re in a hospital you aren’t the patient, so they won’t give you any kind of medication if you ask
  • Tech
    • Laptop (and charger)
    • camera (and spare batteries)
    • USB battery packs, charging cables, wall charger
    • Headphones
    • Ebook reader
  • Healthy dry snacks – protein bars, nuts, jerky, etc
  • Meal vouchers for room service if needed at your hospital
  • Cash and checkbook, just in case
  • Two refillable, insulated water bottles
  • Knife (always useful), travel spork
  • Notepad, pencil, pen
  • Spare eyeglasses, lens wipes
  • Copies of all IDs and health insurance cards kept on phone
  • Instant coffee packs – hot water is usually readily available but coffee can be hard to come by sometimes.
  • Good blanket and pillow from home for longer stays.

All of this should fit in a rolling suitcase, on your back, or in the stroller. Keep absolute essentials like medications with you at all times because it may not be until the end of a very long day before you can get settled into a room and retrieve the rest of your stuff from the car.

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