Emergency Hospital Bag Checklist: 8 Essential Items

Rushing to the hospital can be nerve-wracking, but you can prepare by packing some essential items beforehand. Whether it’s for you or a loved one, having an emergency hospital bag will make any patient feel more reassured. It will also help the hospital staff provide better care.

We asked our CaringBridge community to share their ideas, and they delivered. Read on to see what to put on your emergency hospital bag checklist. 

1. Pajamas and a Change of Clothes

Packing a few extra outfits and a set of sleepwear will make your hospital stay more comfortable, especially if you have to stay for a while. And when you’re ready to go, you’ll feel better leaving in your own clean clothes.

“Have an entire bag packed and ready for myself and my daughter. PJs, full changes of clothes, toiletries, phone charger.”

Jodie H.B.

2. Chargers for Electronics 

Pictured is the DeAnda family, whose story is part of the CaringBridge How We Heal Series.

Imagine having to go to the hospital and your cell phone battery is at 5%. Having an extra charger for your electronics can save you a lot of distress. You’ll be able to access your contacts whose numbers you haven’t memorized, and also pass the time with some entertainment. Consider packing a portable charger as well, just in case. 

“Phone and tablet chargers, a sweater and my medical list notebook.”

Cherie R.

3. Water and Snacks

A trip to the hospital can take significant time and energy. From driving to the hospital to going through the admittance process, hours may pass since you had your last meal. 

As keeping your strength up is important for healing, some water and a few snacks will definitely come in handy. A little extra cash for the hospital vending machines will be useful too.

“Two water bottles… also protein bar/yogurt bar/snacks and coins/credit card for snack machine.”

Jody J. 

“Granola bars, oatmeal packs and a change pouch for snacks/parking/coffee.”

Tracey Y.E.

4. Medications

If you or a loved one are on medication, plan on bringing a list of these medications with you whenever possible. First, the medical staff will be able to provide better care if they know your medication needs. And second, they’ll administer any necessary prescriptions whether you have them with you or not. You can save a bundle by packing them in your emergency bag.

“When my husband has an emergency, I grab a large zip bag and load it with all of his medications as Medicare will charge us for each pill the hospital gives him if we don’t bring them and the last time we got charged several hundred dollars!”

Linda A.

5. Cell Phone

During an emergency, you’ll want to keep your loved ones updated. It’s rare for us to memorize phone numbers anymore, so don’t forget your cell phone. 

For extended stays, you may also consider using the CaringBridge Journal to keep friends and family up to date on you or your loved one’s health journey. 

During a health crisis, sending out countless emails and texts can feel like an additional item to your already full plate. By posting on your Journal as frequently as you’d like, you’re helping keep loved ones informed, while also allowing them to leave words of encouragement and love. 

“Telephone with numbers to reach.”

Kazia R.

Don’t go through your health journey alone

You can stay connected to friends and family, plan and coordinate meals, and experience love from any distance.

All of this is ready for you when you start your personal CaringBridge site, which is completely free of charge, ad-free, private and secure. Don’t spend another minute alone!

6. Colored Pencils and Crafts

Pictured is the vanKoeverden family, whose story is part of the CaringBridge How We Heal Series.

Even after you’re initially treated, recovery time in a hospital can take some time. You can watch TV, but that sometimes gets boring. A knitting bag, coloring book, or even a journal can help pass the time. 

Need some more ideas? We asked the CaringBridge community to share their favorite ways to pass time in the hospital, you can read their thoughts here. There’s always the added benefit of easing stress as you do an activity that relaxes you. 

7. Underwear and a Toothbrush

Unless you pack extra in your emergency hospital bag, the underwear you come in with is the underwear you leave with. You never know how long your hospital stay will be, so have extra pairs of underwear ready to go. 

Hospitals can provide toothbrushes, but they won’t be what you’re used to. You’ll feel much more comfortable bringing your own toiletries whenever possible.

“Underwear, a toothbrush, deodorant.”

Nikki B. 

8. Medical List

A medical list or medical notebook helps you keep track of medications, treatment plans, past surgeries, and more. Keeping an updated medical history can be a great help to medical staff who must treat you or a loved one quickly. Consider making a copy of the medical list and keeping it in your emergency bag. You can have more than one copy of the list as well. Keep one in your car or even near your front door.

“Phone and tablet chargers, a sweater and my medical list notebook.”

Cherie R.

What’s in Your Emergency Bag?

Did we forget anything? Let us know what you pack in your emergency bag by commenting down below. Our CaringBridge community would love to hear your ideas.