Recently, a very close friend of mine had to go into hospital for a major operation. It’s heart-breaking to see those we love facing such difficult times, and we can feel very helpless. But if there’s one thing I know, it’s hospitals – and so the Hospital Care Package was born!
Going into hospital can be very daunting – you’re not feeling at your best, you’re worried about the operation, and you may have long-term concerns for the future too. So when my wonderful friend was faced with an extensive overnight stay in hospital, I decided to put together the ultimate Hospital Care Package and it cost less than £15! Most of these items were sourced in pound shops (it’s amazing what you can find in those places!) and I bought “travel size” toiletries to keep costs and space to a minimum.
What To Pack In Your Hospital Care Package
Top of the list in our hospital care package is face wipes because self-care is really important. The chances are, you’ll be stuck in bed once the operation is over. Having some face wipes within arm’s reach can make a big difference – you’ll feel so much more refreshed after you’ve washed your face, and ready to take on the day. Plus, hospitals can be really hot, stuffy places so face wipes are great for cooling you down too.
One of the worst things about an overnight hospital stay is trying to get some sleep. You’re uncomfortable, nervous, away from home, and the wards are noisy – it’s not going to be easy. But some ear plugs can help to block out the noise and help you feel more relaxed.
Hospital wards are also permanently lit as nurses need to be able to keep checking on everybody. This makes it even more difficult to sleep soundly. The chances are, you’ll be having observations and medication through the night too, so you may be woken several times for those. Anything that can help you nod off quicker will really help.
When you’re recovering from an operation, you might not feel up to doing much. But time passes very slowly in hospitals. Listening to music is a great way to relax and take your mind off the pain. So had to pop a set of cheap headphones into the hospital care package. You could also try downloading some audio books to listen to as well.
You won’t want to jump out of bed every time you need a drink – having a water bottle on your bedside table will be a great help. It’s really important to stay hydrated so just ask one of the nurses to fill it up for you and you’ll be set for a few hours. Alternatively, you could pack a small flask so you can keep a warm drink beside you.
Similar to the face wipes – being able to give yourself a spray of deodorant can really lift your mood. You will probably feel quite lethargic and dependent on others during your stay, so being able to do small self-care tasks independently will feel important.
You might be nil-by-mouth (can’t eat) for a while, but having your favourite treat on standby can be a big motivation and something to look forward to. And when you’re in hospital, you deserve to have treats!
You never know when tissues might come in handy so it’s always good to include these in a hospital care package. Plus, if you have a weepy moment, you’ll be very grateful to have a pack of these to hand.
As I said, hospital wards can be warm, stuffy places, and it’s quite common to get dry lips. A bit of lip balm helps to take away that added stress and make you feel more comfortable.
And leading on from lip balm, a little handheld fan to cool you down can feel like the ultimate luxury! Even better – get your visitors to fan you while they’re chatting away!
The final item in the hospital care package is shampoo. Now it might seem like the last thing you want to do, but finally getting into the shower after an ordeal like this feels truly wonderful. It also feels like a big step towards coming home.
The finishing touches
So that’s a list of the essential items to include in a hospital care package. You can either make one up for yourself or give it to a friend who is facing an overnight stay in hospital.
My top tip, though, is to pop it all into a box so it’s easy to transport. We bought this plastic tub (along with most of the other items) from the pound shop. Storage space is limited in hospitals. Plus, you won’t want to root through your overnight bag looking for lose items like these. A handy box to keep everything in makes it much more accessible.
You can also enhance your hospital care package by adding some other more personal objects. Here are a few ideas to add some extra love to your box:
- Get Well Card
- A reminder something you’ve planned once you’re out
- List of phone numbers
- Money for TV hire or telephone minutes
- Special item from home (small!)
- New pair of socks
- Letters of encouragement from friends / children
I hope you found this list helpful. Let me know what you thought in the comments section below. Have you ever had stay overnight in hospital? What was the one thing you were most grateful to have with you? Or did you forget something that you really wished you’d taken? Do you have any other tips for helping out friends who might be going into hospital?