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A bag packed with things you might need at the hospital

Hospital Bag Necessities

I’m a planner. I like to be as prepared as I can for just about any situation I can think of. It is no different when it comes to a hospital stay. You just never know when your lungs start to flare up and will need to go to the emergency room and ultimately admitted to the hospital. Having a hospital bag prepped and ready long ahead of time can take a lot of that stress out of the already stressful situation. When you can’t breathe, packing a bag to take with you to the hospital is the last thing you want to do. Over the years I have compiled a checklist of things that are commonly forgotten or things you might not think of right away.

Hospital bag necessities for COPD

Legal documents– if you have an advanced directive or any other important pertinent legal documents be sure to have copies of them in your hospital bag.

Change of clothing– for when you are discharged and heading home from the hospital. A comfy robe and non slip slippers can also make a big difference while you’re there.

Chapstick– some hospitals can supply this but not all have it on hand and lips can get really chapped and uncomfortable.

Phone charging cord– to make sure your phone battery doesn’t die.

List of medications– keep this list in your bag so when the nurses or doctor needs to go over your home medications you can show them the list and not have to think of them all off the top of your head.

List of important phone numbers– you will be asked if you have anyone to be listed on your chart to receive any updates from the medical staff.

Toiletries– if you have specific toiletries that you prefer, bring them. Hospitals rarely provide deodorant and lotion so having small travel sized ones in your bag might make your stay more comfortable.

Something to do– things to take your mind off of your breathing and also keep your mind occupied. A book to read, puzzle books (such as crosswords or word searches etc), portable DVD player or anything else that you like to do.

Keep your packed and ready hospital bag somewhere easily accessible. If you are unable to grab it when you head to the hospital or aren’t home before going to the ER, keep it in the same place so you can have someone get it and bring it for you. It is hard enough being in the hospital and having a few comfort items can help ease things a bit.

What are your must have hospital bag items? Share below in a comment!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    3 months ago

    Hi Theresa – this is a handy little list that makes it easy to have a ‘hospital bag’ ready-to-go should it be needed in a hurry. This is a good article!

    Although this may not be for everyone, I have found bringing a supply of my daily medications to be invaluable for any hospital stay (whether planned or an emergency). The list of medications that you mentioned is essential when hospital staff are taking one’s history. However, should one wind up in the hospital, I’ve found (depending on the hospital), the pharmacy doesn’t always maintain one’s specific medications on formulary. The end result is that either they substitute with ‘equivalent’ medications, or they don’t administer them at all.
    I am a strong believer in being compliant with one’s medication regimen and I don’t recommend skipping any of the doses while hospitalized. I have found that trying to get back on track can be difficult and other symptoms may start to return when it could have been avoided altogether.
    This may be something that should be discussed ahead of time with the prescribing physician.
    Wishing everyone good health,
    Leon (site moderator)

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