Crowdsourced Hospital Tips


It is hard being the mom of a child with a disability. I have been living this truth for twenty years. My son, Henry, has been hospitalized over 100 times in his life. We also know many other families with medically complex kids. I asked them to share their best hospital tips with you. Here they are!

I bought a cheap $10 tiny coffee pot and take it with me and all my own coffee stuff! Too many times I can’t or won’t leave the room and I at least have my coffee, I have many more because we are always there but that is my #1!

I also buy the really large bag of trail mix and keep it for hospital at least it is something easy and not completely junk to have if it is an unplanned trip.

The Starbuck Via instant coffee is pretty decent. Costco sells 24 packs of them. My husband likes to get the flavored creamer shelf stable pods which will help any coffee…

I pack tuna, oatmeal, packets of mayo and relish, honey and instant coffee and creamers, I keep a prepaid debit card loaded with $100 specifically for inpatient stays, IF I leave the room.  Wireless phone charger, iPad and laptop with notebook, adult coloring books and pencils, reading book, and highlighters.   I also keep colored markers and plain paper to make signs throughout the room about my child.

Definitely having portable chargers and more than one device.  Critical few on clothing – like yoga pants and tshirts. It’s ok to wear the same outfit for days – just brush your teeth. Bring your own pillow and maybe a sweater because it’s always cold even if you can adjust the temperature.  Sleeping is probably not likely to happen – nights are usually worse than days for getting rest.  Make sure you are up early as the parent to catch to folks that round pre-dawn so you can have your say.  Be prepared to have to repeat history multiple times as everyone will ask from the med student to the resident, fellow, attending. Make sure you keep notes so you can remind folks of what to look for. And make friends with your nurses they are what stands between you and going home.

I always take a grocery sack filled with snacks, cereal, teabags, quick meals, a loaf of bread, oatmeal, peanut butter, etc. since the cafeteria at our children’s hospital closes early. I take at least two light weight quilts for each of us to use. I keep several boxes of unopened Kleenex in my car so I will have them during our stay. Take a sharpie to put your name on stuff. Extra chargers for electronics stay in my car at all times too for unexpected admissions. We don’t live close to the children’s hospital so I have to keep my car stocked with a lot of this stuff and ready for the unexpected drive. Word puzzle books are a necessity as well as my bible.

When I shower at the hospital, I ask for 4 bed sheets. I put them on the bathroom floor so I can get out of the shower and step directly on the floor and dry off. I never touch a hospital floor with bare feet…ever. I always take an empty ikea bag to hold all the things we end up coming back home with such as the things volunteers bring to the kids. 

I take my own pillows to the hospital if I have enough notice. If I don’t, I ask for two pillows and two cases. I put both pillows in one case and then put the extra case over that going in the opposite direction. It give my neck better support and I try to avoid touching those nasty things. 

I take Clorox wipes and wipe down all surfaces, phone remotes, etc because they never get it clean enough in a hospital.

Take your normal meds with you…. often it takes much too long to get them unfortunately!


What is is your best tip for hospital stays?

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