Pack Ahead for ER Trips & Waiting at the Hospital
Whether it’s a trip to the ER or going for testing or outpatient surgery, a little prep by means of an ER packing list can make all the difference. (*Obviously, if you’re in a serious emergency, call 911 and let someone grab luxuries to meet you later. A packing list in that scenario is a must.) My family are pros at packing to help the time pass as comfortably as possible. One thing we can count on is free wi-fi, so we plan accordingly. My oldest son just had surgery yesterday, and we took #1-#10 for our hospital wait.
First order of business is to wear comfy clothes and grab your wallet with ID, insurance cards, and form of payment. Then grab a backpack or large purse and collect your…
Hospital Wait Survival Kit
(ER Packing List)
- List of medications (include over the counter) – Store it on your phone so it’s always packed.
- phone charger (Keep an extra in each car and this is always packed.)
- hoodie and/or small blanket (Hospitals are cold.)
- soft socks*
- coins for vending* (They don’t all take plastic)
- tablet or laptop with charger
- iPod & headphones with charger (especially good for autism or anxiety)
- power bank*
- lip balm*
- medications the driver needs for the next several hours
- coloring book and crayons for kids*
Prep Now – It’s an Every Day Survival Kit
So much of this list can already be in your purse, a backpack, your laptop case so really there’s not a packing session involved. Everything with an asterisk is stuff you can easily have in a bag or your purse right now. Think ahead now so when you have an ER run or marathon MRI, you are comfy and can be productive. This kind of preparation is how families like mine are able to manage through 15 doctor’s appointments in a week (not even exaggerating). Yeah, this is something you don’t want to achieve pro status at, but you can learn from us. This is so useful, so versatile, that if you prep the kit, you’ll find yourself using it on a regular basis. Think of all the times you have to wait! I’ve seen so many parents hand their phones over to kids to entertain them. Wouldn’t it be great to have something specifically for the kids so parents could have their phones for both entertainment and productivity? How many times is your child waiting for you not so patiently? Adapt this ER packing kit to be an every day survival kit, and win at life!
Toddlers in Tow – Don’t Suffer in Silence
If you have an infant in tow that’s a whole list of its own. One thing I’d add to the ER packing list is another list of 10 people you could call who would meet you at the hospital to take the little one away from there. Really, people are happy to help you with this. You would help them, and they are no different.
Who do you ask
- The people you go to church with
- your neighbors
- your older child’s friend’s parents
- people you volunteer with
- the moms on your son’s baseball team.
If you really work your list of contacts – put a plea on Facebook to select friends or send a group text – someone is likely to come through. (You actually DO know responsible adults, and you’re only a phone call away.)
Why should you do this?
- Your sanity is precious
- Hospitals are boring
- Because hospital floors are not where you want your little ones playing.
- There is no place like an ER to get sick. I can’t tell you how many times my immunosuppressed son has gotten sick from going to a specialist’s office in a hospital and forgetting to mask until he was in the door. The ER is a melting pot of viral contagion.
It’s Always Chilly In the ER
I know quite well how boring and uncomfortable a cold ER room can be when your phone is out of charge and you’re wearing shorts and sandals. Hospitals keep it cold to stop the spread of germs and for cardiac patients, so bank on it being chilly. You want to be comfortable so you are paying full attention and taking care of the patient’s needs.
The MOST IMPORTANT Thing
If you do nothing else, make the list of medications. It’s s
o easy to make mistakes, forgetting a med or getting the dosage wrong if you’re going from memory in the ER. Do you keep your family’s with you always? I confess that ours aren’t on my phone … yet. However, the list I deal with the most is my son’s extensive list which is on my iPad in Dropbox. This is such an important thing to do, and if you don’t have many meds, you could line them up and take a photo. Do you have your family’s medications documented?
How about this ER survival kit?
I think every family needs one and not just for waiting in hospitals, although hospitals have a unique ambiance. Are you going to build one, and what unique item are you going to add and why?