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Packing right

Last Modified: 5/22/2018

compendium_600x400_packingright_1_16.jpg PreviewWe know an impending procedure or hospital stay can be unsettling, particularly if it involves a child or loved one. It’s often the anxiety of the unknown that troubles people the most. In an effort to ease some of those pre-surgery stressors, we pulled together a few helpful lists for those last-minute to-dos.

What you need to know:

1) Follow the physician’s instructions.
Your physician or surgeon may give direction about what you or your child may eat or drink, medications you should take or avoid, or instructions on bathing/showering before the procedure. It is very important to make sure you understand these instructions and follow them. We encourage you to contact your physician’s office if you have any questions about your procedure or need clarification about the preparation.

2) What comes and what goes.
Please leave jewelry, valuables and large sums of money at home. Keep personal items that you need, such as dentures, eyeglasses and hearing aids, in protective cases in your bedside stand when not in use. We cannot take responsibility for these items.

3) Color chart.
You can identify hospital team members by the badges they wear, which also have their name, job title and department. Team members can also be identified by the color of their uniforms.

Nursing – Caribbean blue or white
Nursing support staff – taupe
Cardiopulmonary and Sleep Services – chocolate
Radiology – pewter
Pharmacy – techs wear wine; pharmacists wear white lab coats
Lab – royal blue, light blue or white lab coats
Rehab/Therapies – olive green
Housekeeping – navy scrubs or navy pants with light blue shirt
Nutrition Services – black and white

Pre-surgery checklists for every situation

Packing List for Patient or Child

  • Comfortable clothes you can wear while sleeping
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Sweater or light jacket
  • Hand lotion — you will wash your hands more often than you normally do
  • Lip balm, mints or hard candy, and face cream
  • Eye glasses, contact lenses, cases and solution
  • Toiletry items
  • Prescription and non-prescription medications or vitamins you take regularly, including a headache remedy
  • Snacks and breakfast foods (also available at the Ronald McDonald House)
  • Refillable water bottle, juice, tea bags, etc.
  • Change for vending machines
  • A copy of your child’s medical history, list of immunizations and medications, insurance card, etc.
  • Magazines, books or other reading material
  • Note cards, stamps, address book — for writing thank you notes
  • CD player, MP3 player, tablet device or laptop with headphones – free Wi-Fi is available
  • Needlework or knitting

“Comforts” to Consider for Your Child

  • Bring familiar items such as family photos, your child's own clothes, security items, drawings and letters from siblings, friends and/or classmates.
  • If your child is up to it, encourage visits from friends, help them keep up with schoolwork and take part in the Child Life Activity Center in the pediatrics area.
  • Promote reading, drawing and playing activities at the bedside, if your child cannot leave the room.
  • Ask your child life specialist for ideas to help your family cope with your child's hospitalization.

Support System Checklist

  • Meals, especially when you first return home
  • Picking up mail and/or newspapers at home
  • Feed pets according to their normal schedule
  • Cut or water the lawn/flowers
  • Purchase basic grocery items (milk, bread, etc.) for your family
  • Assist family members with laundry
  • Help care for your children who are at home, or take them to their routine events, including lessons, team practices, ball games, etc.
  • Tend to the emotional needs of the children who are at home
  • Bring lunch or dinner to you at the hospital
  • Bring a change of clothes, mail and other items you need to the hospital
  • Spend time with you — just being there can be important
  • Sit with your ill or sick child, so you can take a break or shower
  • Spend a few hours in your home answering the phone so you can sleep (they can wake you if the hospital calls)

Parents Checklist

  • Take care of yourself
  • Take breaks
  • Eat properly
  • Get enough sleep
  • Talk with a friend
  • Journal – one online option is CaringBridge
  • Log dates, times and procedure names
  • Know that it is OK to ask for help

We encourage you to seek assistance from the nursing staff with any concerns or additional needs. While your nurse or physician is your immediate contact when concerns arise, our patient advocates are also available and very interested in providing any assistance you may need, listening to your concerns, investigating your questions, and responding in a timely manner. Our goal is to provide an excellent experience for every person, every day. 


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