Hospital checklist

This hospital checklist can go a long way to reducing stress, no matter how long or short your hospital stay may turn out to be.

Until I was diagnosed with COPD in September of 2013, I had only ever been hospitalized for childbirth and once to remove my gallbladder. All of those were relatively short stays, but the fact is – you never know if you’ll be there for a few hours or for a longer time period.

Over time, I have developed the following system. It is a list of different bags I pack (and in some cases what their purpose is). Some of the bags remain in the car when I go to the ER, and are only brought in if I’m admitted. In the case of the cooler, that’s usually only if I’m super sick and likely to be there for three or more days.

My own personal list is by no means comprehensive but can serve as a basis for you to start developing your own list from. It reduces my stress level to have the comfort items and know that I won’t have to expect a family member to go chasing around to find and bring things to me later. (That scenario often generates MORE stress instead of reducing it!)

Purse (always)


Extra eyeglasses (reading glasses)

ER Comfort Bag (always)

Documents: updated list of meds, communication worksheet*, etc.

Head & leg pillows (one of each – often the ER is devoid of pillows)

Extension cord, phone charger cable & wall plug


Tissues, hankies/bandanas

Extra underwear & pants

½ dozen incontinence pads

Long-sleeved shirt, sweater or jacket

Non-slip socks

Plastic grocery store bags for various purposes


Cough drops


Red Backpack (upon admission)

Pill sorters with usual meds in them (just in case – always good to be sure you have these)**

Hair bands, hairpins, etc.

Laundry bag

Complete change of clothes for going home in

Another ½ dozen incontinence pads

Black EAS Duffel Bag (upon admission)

Plenty of pants and pajama bottoms that are stretchy and loose

More extra underwear and non-slip socks

More incontinence pads

More plastic bags including ziplocks of varying sizes

Rolling Suitcase (upon admission)

Spare computer, charger

Wireless KB/mouse and wrist pad

Surge protector/power strip

Shower Tote (upon admission)

Shampoo, shower and hair care products

Oral hygiene products

Salt for rinsing and gargling after Symbicort

Bring Later for Longer Stays

Cooler with yogurts

Additional incontinence pads

Possibly request family to take home and wash laundry, bring back clean undies/pants etc.

*The communication worksheet will be discussed in another post, but it a tool I have recently developed in order to make encounters with medical personnel more fruitful and less challenging – especially for those of us with special needs.

**Hospitals don’t like for you to have these – and you may be willing to let the hospital hold them, but it’s better to do that than to NOT have all your meds, especially since sometimes the hospital won’t have a given med that you’re on. They prefer them to be in the bottles, however, rather than your pill sorters – and some may refuse to dispense them, especially if the meds don’t mix well with your antibiotics or other in-hospital meds.

Are you hospitalized often? What do you do in order to make it more tolerable? Let me know in the comments below.