My surgery is coming up. What items should I pack for my hospital stay?

THINK SMALL… you don’t need much!

The length of your hospital stay can vary by surgery but is on average 1 to 3 days. Members of our BE Support Group on Facebook came up with the following list of top hospital essentials:

  • Disinfecting wipes. Enroll a trusted friend to wipe down your rails, nightstand, doorknobs and all surfaces with wipes before you are brought back to your room.
  • Phone or Tablet Charger. Consider an extension cord since hospital rooms are not designed for patient access to outlets.
  • Loose, comfortable clothes for the ride home – wide banded sweat pants and a long baggy t-shirt are top vote getters
  • Lip Balm – intubation from anesthesia leaves lips chapped or cracked and lip balm or chapstick is welcome
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste – you may be allowed to brush once cleared
  • Hair brush, hair clips or headbands
  • Slippers or slip on sandals (Note: You will not be allowed to wear these in the hospital as we are considered a fall risk, but they are wonderful for the ride home.)
  • A pillow for the ride home – Why? Your stomach will be very sore after surgery. Hugging a pillow to your belly during the drive home will muffle pain from road bumps while driving. Leave this in the car to avoid ‘contamination’ from hospital bacteria.

Jewelry, makeup, shampoo & conditioner, robe and nightgown, computer, books, magazines. All of those things sound good, but if you feel good enough to even THINK about these items, you’ll be going home in about 4 minutes.

Special Note: Many ask about having nail polish on at the time of surgery. PLEASE check with your surgery team BEFORE surgery so that this does not become an issue on the day of your surgery. While some teams do not mind this, others want your hands and toes to be clear of any polish. BIG IDEA! Remove nails and or polish to ensure NOT having an issue.



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2 thoughts on “FAQ: What do I pack for my hospital stay?

  1. Cassie says:

    Regarding nail polish: Patients are asked to remove nail polish because the doctors/nurses need to be able to see your natural finger nail to check your circulation. So, you’d think clear polish would be okay, right? Not really, because any nail polish may get in the way of the pulse oximeter which clips onto your finger to keep track of your pulse and how well you are breathing. It’s all about your safety.

    • Suzanne Shaw says:

      I believe this rule is starting to vary, when I had my surgery I asked during my pre-op about nail polish and was told that I didn’t need to remove it or the fake nails I was wearing. This is one that most people need to verify for sure I think as equipment in the various OR may differ I guess.

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