As much as we all want to believe that we are invincible and nothing bad will ever happen to us, life often has other ideas. Between broken bones, contagious illnesses, accidents, and more, there’s a good chance that you or a family member has been to the hospital. Hopefully, those stays have been short, relatively painless, and you’ve gotten the help you need!
Sometimes, however, a hospital stay needs to last a bit longer than you might want. Perhaps you had a major surgery that you need to recover from, or maybe you’re pregnant and needing some extra care before your delivery! Whatever the reason, spending an extended amount of time in a hospital can be a challenging experience, but it doesn’t have to be.
Hospital staff will do everything they can to make you as comfortable as possible, but there are also a few steps that you can take to help. We put together this article to go over some of the best tips we could find for making your stay at a hospital as comfortable as possible. That way, if you ever find yourself at a hospital, you can be prepared for anything!
Medical Disclaimer: All information, content, and material of this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
1. Prepare a “Hospital Bag”
Whether you know you’re going to the hospital for a long time or you have to rush there in an emergency, a hospital bag can make a significant difference to your time spent there. So what do we mean by a hospital bag?
Depending on the situation, your hospital bag can serve a number of purposes. For instance, if you are going to the hospital for a planned long stay (expecting the birth of your child, planned surgery, etc.), then your bag should contain the bare essentials that you’ll need over the next few days. This can include hygiene items, comfortable clothes, a phone charger, and a book or two.
In these pre-planned cases, you can treat it more as a hospital “overnight” bag, as you will likely know the length of your stay. Having all of the essentials on hand will definitely make things easier!
However, if you find yourself at the hospital in an emergency, it might be good to make a hospital bag checklist. Naturally, you won’t be able to pack your hospital bag in an emergency, but if you have a willing family member or friend, the two of you can create a comprehensive list of items that they will then bring to you. You can make this checklist in case of emergency, or if you are able, once you are settled into the hospital.
2. Put Aside Pride
Generally, when you’re in a hospital room, you’re experiencing something painful or uncomfortable. While nobody likes these feelings, many people can actually make their hospital stay harder because they try to be stoic and handle their pain independently. It’s natural to want independence, but in these situations, it’s better to put aside your pride and work with the doctors as closely as possible.
Regardless of your medical problem, pain can be one of the biggest hindrances to the recovery process, so it’s critical that you listen to your doctors and follow their recommendations. The more you follow the directions of your care team, the shorter your stay is likely to be!
3. Bring the Eats
Don’t get us wrong, hospital food is designed to be nutritious and beneficial to your recovery, but don’t be surprised when you start craving one of your favorite foods. While there will be vending machines with snacks and maybe even a food court, you just can’t compare those to your favorite meals. They’re called comfort foods for a reason!
Having one of your favorite snacks (our favorite is theEATBar) or home-cooked meals can be a great way to feel at home in an unfamiliar place. Just be sure to check with the doctor in charge of your primary care to ensure that you are able and allowed to eat that food. If it’s allowed, have a loved one bring you the food at a convenient time or have the food delivered.
4. Clarify Your “People Policy”
While you’re in the hospital, you will have people that want to come visit and support you! From family members and loved ones to classmates and coworkers, there’s probably a good amount of people that will come through your room. The support will undoubtedly help with morale, and having visitors is a great way to stay in touch with the outside world, but at the same time, you’ll want to set boundaries.
Outside of the hospital’s existing rules, try to make a plan for when visitors can see you. You can do this by designating specific hours of the day that people can visit you or limiting people’s visits to a particular length of time.
Whatever the reason you’re in the hospital, you need your rest and relaxation to recover, so don’t feel guilty for setting up these essential boundaries! Your health care takes priority, and the people who care about you will undoubtedly understand.
5. Stay Flexible and Communicate
There’s no “one way” to have a comfortable stay in a hospital; everyone has their own way of coping and feeling at home. If you think that bringing your shampoo and conditioner from home will make the hospital shower a bit cozier, then do that! If you can’t survive without your lucky lip balm, have a friend bring it to you. If it’s going to help you in some way, then that’s the best decision you can make.
That being said, there’s no way to predict what’s going to happen or what will bring you the most comfort, so it’s essential to remain flexible and open-minded. Talk to your doctors as often as possible, so you can assess your situation and react accordingly. If your care team has any medical students, they can be a great resource for answering the more technical questions you may have.
The more you are able to roll with the punches, and adapt to whatever comes your way, the more comfortable your stay will be! It’s never easy being in the hospital, but with the help of those around you, and good communication, it will be as comfy as possible.
If you’re looking for some simple, but tasty snacks that anyone can enjoy, you should check out theEATbar! Our meringue-based snack bars are great for people of all ages, and we’d definitely recommend adding some to your hospital bag. Whether you need something tasty to break up the hospital food or have a family member that’s having difficulty eating on their own, our bar can help you.