It’s the rare person who actually wishes to go to the hospital. Whether we’re there for an emergency or a scheduled procedure, hospital trips are usually an ordeal. If we’re lucky, we receive care from knowledgeable, compassionate professionals. We’ll also have visitors and gifts sent our way. All of these things make a hospital visit easier. However, you don’t always control them, which can be stressful. We have good news: you can usually control what you bring to the hospital (especially if it is a scheduled operation). Even if you are rushed to the hospital without having time to gather anything, you can usually ask a friend or family member to bring you some items.

What items? Well, there’s a list of basics that have proven themselves to be great allies to a lot of people during their hospital stays. Read on to find out!

Cell phone (and charger!)

No matter how long your hospital stay is, you need to be able to stay in touch with friends and loved ones, and that means your cell phone is absolutely essential. Yes, most hospital rooms have landlines, you cannot depend on them to be within reach all the time. Sometimes, they’re on a table or windowsill, and they’re not always light and portable. Make sure you bring a charger to assure your phone will have the power it needs. Many rooms have outlets very close to the bed, which makes it easy to keep your phone plugged in and nearby.

Comfy clothing

Hospital gowns are minimalistic and provide a modicum of warmth and modesty. Additionally, though your hospital likely has warm blankets, these blankets are usually very light and may not keep you warm enough. We recommend you bring a cozy robe for when you venture out of your room and begin to walk the halls. We also recommend bringing a throw blanket that will add a splash of cheery color to your room. A hat may do you good, and a warm shirt or bed jacket will keep you warm while you’re in your room. Try not to bring clothes that require you to put them on over your head. Button-ups always work best, no matter what kind of operation you have. Lastly, when it comes to socks, the hospital will probably provide you with socks that have grippy rubber pieces on the bottom. However, they can run a bit small. If you have particularly large feet, you might want to invest in a pair of your own.

A good pillow

Hospital pillows are usually firm and covered in plastic. We understand why they need to be this way, but they can be difficult to sleep on night after night. You can absolutely bring your own pillow. You’ll probably be sleeping on your back a lot and a neck pillow can help your spine. We recommend you use colorful pillowcases to ensure there’s no confusion about which pillow is yours. Lastly, make sure you wash the pillow and pillow case once you get home. Hospital staff usually does their best, but hospitals can be very dirty places!


If you’re staying overnight, the hospital can provide you with basic toiletries like a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, and soap. While they won’t be your preferred brand, they can do the job. It’s just nice to bring your own. Getting to smell your usual shampoo and conditioner in the shower can go a long way toward making you feel more like yourself. Whether you decide to bring your own products or not, we do recommend bringing some lotion. Hospital air is generally quite dry, and moisturizing your skin will keep you more comfortable overall. Lastly, we highly recommend bringing a pair of nail clippers and a file. This is one item people don’t think about until they’ve got nails catching on their sheets and there’s nothing they can do about it. Don’t let that be you!

A list of your normal medications

Though the hospital should know which medications you take from your pre-op appointment, you should still bring a list to reference when you go in for your operation. That way, everything can be clear from the beginning of your stay. As for supplements and other non-prescription medications, you can bring a small supply if you would like. While the hospital will replace your normal list with their own list tailored to your needs after your operation, that list may include some of your normal meds. It can be nice to have your own medications just in case the hospital pharmacy doesn’t carry the brand you’re used to.

Notebook and pen

Chances are good you’ll have questions for your surgeon before and after your operation. A notebook and pen will allow you to record answers and take them home with you. Having a notebook is especially important during the checkout procedure. It can sometimes be a huge information dump, and though hospitals are good about providing handouts with helpful information, you should still have a notebook for your own questions. There’s nothing worse than getting home, exhausted, and realizing you need more information. Though you can easily call the hospital and get what you need, it’s less stressful to be proactive.

Headphones and a substitute for TV

Hospital televisions usually route sound through the remote you use to control them. Depending on your luck, you may not be able to hear the television at all. If you’re sharing your room with someone else, that can add more noise. If you can, bring a device you can use to watch movies and television on your own. Plug your earphones in, and you won’t have to worry about hearing the dialogue. We recommend choosing lighthearted material that will keep your spirits up. Even if your operation goes perfectly and you are pleased, it can be easy to crash when you’re dealing with the emotions of recovery.

Eye mask and reading light

Some hospital rooms aren’t well-lit for reading, and if you’re planning on digging into a good book, you may want to bring a reading light to be kind to your eyes. We recommend bringing a mask because chances are good you’ll get light leaking into your room at night. A soft eye mask can be cozy while delivering blessed darkness. Anything that will help you sleep is a must!

The easier you make your hospital stay, the better shape you’ll be when you come home. Of course, there’s nothing like finally getting back to your own room. Let us help you stay there and avoid going back to the hospital. The team at Justice Healthcare Group provides the home health care you need to tackle the hurdles of recovery from the comfort of your own place. Learn more about our Houston services today!