Packing a Hospital Bag for your Senior

When my mom was sick we found ourselves in and out of the hospital more times than one could count. After a number of times I found having a bag ready to go certainly saved time, which could ultimately save a life.

Today we’re going to be going over some recommendations for things you may want to consider having ready to go for your parent in case of an emergency.

Medical Information and Medications

In case your senior wasn’t with you or another emergency contact, having clear documentation for the hospital staff can save a ton of time and confusion. Include a list of emergency contact names and numbers, a list of medications and a medical power of attorney document.

It’s also good to have your seniors medications in the bag as well for several reasons. Hospitals may not have the same medications that you have at home, many times they will offer a generic version or they may not even have a medication on site.  Check all of this with the RN and bring anything from home that will help supplement the current list of medications. Additionally, this can save your senior from being billed for medications they already have.

During a hospital stay they will check blood sugar quite frequently. If your loved one prefers, you may want to pack their own Blood sugar testing for increased comfort.

Personal Items

This can be a wide variety of things that just make your senior feel more at home in the hospital. I always packed the following items for my mom:

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Face Cream
  • Body Lotion
  • Hairbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Glasses
  • Lip balm or Lipstick


Typically, your senior won’t need much clothing as they will be in a hospital gown for most of the time. This is so the staff has easy access to the body for treatment and monitoring. But one thing I found extremely helpful to have was slip on shoes or slippers. If your parent is recovering from surgery, it’s likely the hospital will have them get up and moving around. So, having a comfortable yet sturdy slip on shoe is a much better option than a hospital slipper.

Additionally, I would bring my mom a sweater or a large scarf in case she found herself cold, along with a change of clothes for her to go home in.

Items of Value

It is important to remove any jewelry, wallets or items that may be misplaced during a hospital stay. The nursing staff makes every effort to have those items checked in at the security office, but that is not always possible. Many times a person is admitted without family or support present, and things can easily get lost. My mom had a necklace taken to security, but when I went to go pick up her items they did not have the necklace on the list of her possessions. At that point, there really isn’t anything to be done, so while we just do the best we can, it’s better to gather those items yourself so that you know where they are at all times.


While the hospital isn’t a vacation stay, sometimes your senior will be waiting and easily bored. In hopes to make it easier I’d have a magazine that was easy to flip through for my mom. Having an extra phone charger is also nice as it’s an easily forgotten item when rushing out the door.

Do you or your older adult have some favorites that you pack? Is there anything you’d add to our list? Let us know below!