You may not have any trips planned, but it’s time to pack for one.
And I don’t mean a vacation.
We don’t PLAN to go to the hospital in most cases. And we sure as heck don’t WANT to be there.
But sometimes, we HAVE TO go.
It is often literally a matter of life and death, after all. And the time to prepare for that trip isn’t when you can hear the sirens of the ambulance coming to pick you up off the kitchen floor.
It’s right NOW.
An unexpected trip to the hospital is always a high-stress situation. But having a hospital “go bag” ready, and in a place where you or a loved one can grab it, can make a tense situation a little calmer.
What you should pack in your hospital “go bag”
So what should be in your hospital “go bag”?
Well, some of the items are obvious. But a few might surprise you.
And then there’s one that almost no one thinks of bringing. But that ONE item could literally help you to get out of the hospital and back home sooner.
I’ll reveal what it is in just a moment. But first, let’s go over the other items you should include in your hospital “go bag.”
List of meds: Have a current list of ALL the drugs you are taking along with their dosages, so the responding docs know what you’re on.
List of allergies: Keep a list of all the meds you’re allergic to, especially things like penicillin, as well as any other allergies you may have – including food allergies such as dairy.
Contact card: Include your own name and phone number, of course, as well as those of several loved ones who can be called if needed in case you can’t answer for yourself. Also, include the name and number of your doctor and any specialists you routinely see.
Socks, underwear, and a change of clothes: They’ll give you a gown, of course. But under that gown, you’re going to want some clean undies. Not to mention some real clothes to put on the moment you’re allowed out of the hospital.
Family photos: The photos aren’t just to gaze at for comfort. You see, it’s quite common for seniors to face confusion and delirium when in the hospital. And that’s true even if you never have before. So having a few familiar items – especially pictures of family members – could help keep you oriented.
A list of everything else: Some things can’t be packed until the last minute since you’re using them. So have a checklist of things to add later, including your glasses… hearing aids… phone and charger… a notebook and pen… an e-reader if you have one. Put anything else you depend on daily on the list.
“Secret” item can send you home sooner
But there is one OTHER item you should stow away in your hospital “go bag” that almost everyone forgets. And yet, according to research, this ONE item could literally get you back home sooner.
I’m talking about earplugs. Seriously.
In fact, they may be the MOST important item in the kit. Because, as you probably don’t need me to tell you, hospitals … and especially ERs… are notoriously loud. And that can make it almost impossible to sleep.
One new study finds ER patients get worse sleep on all five measures tested, including sleep duration, quality, and wake-ups.
And that’s a problem because sleep is CRITICAL for your recovery. Without quality snooze time researchers say you could end up stuck in the hospital LONGER.
And let’s face it. You don’t want to spend a second longer in the hospital than you have to. Get better sleep, and get home sooner instead.
Then, you can pack for something else to celebrate getting sprung… a REAL vacation. You’ve earned it
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