We're familiar with the concept of packing a "Go Bag" in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy, or if serving as active duty military. If you're someone with chronic illness who may need an emergency trip to the hospital, or someone who is at increased risk of hospitalization during the COVID 19 Pandemic, it's a good idea to pack a "Go Bag" now.
A "Go Bag" may include the following:
- A list of items used on a daily basis that need to be grabbed before leaving for the hospital in a flurry.
- Your medical care summary (see Item #3 on the Preparing for a Hospital Stay blog post)
- A copy of your POLST
- A copy of your Advanced Health Care Directive
- Cell phone and charger
- An ipad or tablet and charger, if you have one
- Your CPAP or BiPAP machine and mask, if you have one
- Any specialty medications that may not be available in the hospital pharmacy (e.g. my MS medication is not available when I’m inpatient; some of the supplements my physician has prescribed are not on the hospital formulary). Pack these in the original prescription bottle. The hospital pharmacy will label it and dispense it while hospitalized, if it doesn't need to be discontinued due to current condition.
- Ear buds or headphones to listen to music
- A change of clothes and several changes of underwear. A sweater if you get cold easily.
- Flip flops for the shower, if you like wearing them. Non-slip socks will be given to you, but I also like to take supportive shoes with me.
- A comfort item that can be easily cleaned, like a small blanket.
- Items to help pass the time that are easily cleaned, or that can be tossed when done, such as a paperback book, magazines, crossword puzzles, a coloring book/pencils/crayons, or a journal.
- Phone numbers for anyone you may wish to call, in the event your phone is lost or out of power.
- Ear plugs or eye mask if noise/light bothers you while sleeping
- Most hospitals provide a basic toiletries kit, but consider adding your favorite lip balm or lotion.
- A small notebook and pens to use to write down questions for the medical team, or to take notes on what they say
- Copies of the your medical insurance card and ID
- A small photo of loved ones, if you don't already have it in your phone
- A case for hearing aids, glasses and dentures. Label this ahead of time with the your name and phone number, in the event it’s lost. It’s tempting to leave these at home, but it’s important to be able to hear, see and eat and critical to have these items for those who are cognitively impaired or have dementia in order to help with orientation and prevent delirium.
- Do NOT bring any other valuables
What else is in YOUR go bag? Comment below so others can benefit from your expertise!