Most likely, your elderly mom or dad will end up with a hospital visit or two, from a routine procedure to an emergency stay. Because this can be a stressful time for everyone involved, it’s a good idea to prepare ahead of time to alleviate some of the confusion and anxiety that is sure to take place. Preparing a proper overnight bag for an aging loved one is one way to take care of some important details before arriving at the hospital.
The other advantage of preparing an overnight bag for the hospital is that if others are helping to care for your aging parent and there is an emergency, they have everything they need already gathered. Letting senior care providers and other family members know where this grab bag is can save a lot of headaches if something happens when you aren’t around.
So, what goes into a well-prepared hospital bag for your aging parent? There are some obvious items that come to mind, and other things that you might not think about that you or your elderly mom or dad might need. Taking the time to pack an overnight hospital bag is the best way to ensure that you, the senior care provider or other support person is as prepared as possible.
1. Medical History Documents.
Perhaps the most important thing that you can bring to the hospital is information about your aging mom or dad’s health. Create a folder with their full name, address, and medical history. This must include any current prescription medications (name and dosage), and any allergies they might have. Other important information might include doctor contact information, recent surgeries, and any other relevant medical information.
2. Insurance Information.
Along with medical history, the next most important piece of information to have includes insurance information. Copies of insurance cards, Medicare cards, and even pre-certification forms will come in handy in a hospital bag. Family caregivers will appreciate having the right details on hand as they fill out paperwork and answer questions from hospital staff regarding coverage and care.
3. Clothes and Accessories.
The elderly adult won’t need clothes in the hospital because they will get a gown to wear. However, many seniors enjoy an extra sweater or robe to ward off chills. Warm socks, clean underwear, and an extra light blanket may also come in handy. Family caregivers shouldn’t forget an extra set of glasses or hearing aid batteries.
4. Toiletry Items.
Most hospitals don’t provide a lot in the way of toiletries, so family caregivers and senior care providers should always include toiletries in the hospital bag. Examples include a toothbrush, toothpaste, tissues, lip balm, lotion, hairbrush, and anything else the aging adult needs to get ready every day.
5. Luxury Items.
While the aging adult may enjoy visits from friends, family members and even senior care providers, they will be spending a lot of time on their own, so entertainment is important. The hospital bag can include a novel, crossword puzzle book, knitting project, playing cards, or magazines. Even an older tablet or other electronic reader can have a permanent home in the hospital bag in case it is ever needed.