Prepare your hospital stay


The worst part about hospital is that it can be B-O-R-I-N-G. If you have to stay in for long stretches of time, you're going to need to pack the real essentials, have plenty of entertainment on hand and learn how to look after yourself on the ward.


Ok, so hospital packing isn’t exactly holiday packing but it’s similar in principle. You need stuff for comfort, stuff to keep you connected and stuff to combat the boredom. These are some of the things that other people said were vital to their hospital stays.

  • Something snuggly for your feet like slippers or slipper socks
  • Comfortable clothes like baggy t-shirts and joggers
  • Smartphone or tablet. Download an array of games, apps, digital books or podcasts to keep you busy
  • Charger. Never forget the charger
  • Puzzle and activity books. Mindfulness colouring books are so the rage right now
  • Favourite snacks or drinks
  • Headphones to listen to videos, music, audiobooks or podcasts – if you’re listening on a smart device, pre-download them or make them available offline in case you have problems with the internet connection in hospital
  • Or go retro with an MP3 player, hand-held games console or portable DVD player
  • Essential toiletries. Moisturisers, hand cream and lip balm can be especially handy
  • Notebook and pen
  • Some cash in case there’s anything you need from the shops – or you fancy a decent coffee!
  • Books and magazines
  • Photos or anything precious you want to have near you – especially something that makes you smile.


Being in hospital can be very tedious. It’s normal to want to switch off. You might not think it but boredom can actually affect your mood and make you feel low. While it’s important to allow your body to rest, keeping your brain active will give you something positive to focus on.

Here are a few ways to beat your clock-watching urges:

Stay connected through technology

Many hospitals offer now free wifi access so you can stay connected to friends through email or continue your social media pursuits if you parents agree with it. With access to websites like Netflix or Hulu, you can pick a new TV series and start at season one.

Invite visitors

Let friends and family visit often. They can cheer you up, make you laugh and bring you stuff from home that you normally enjoy such as magazines, board games, cards or video games.

Learn a new trade

Knitting, painting, arts and crafts, music therapy and meditation techniques. Learn to paint or make beaded jewelry and key chains for instance.

Socialize with other patients

Ask your nurse if he or she can set up an activity for you with other patients of the same age or diagnosis. If you are feeling well enough, you can also talk to other families and patients in common areas.

Join a support group or class

Various support groups and programs are offered and some hospitals provide complimentary beauty sessions to cancer patients. Check out with your nurse the possibilities.

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