Wondering What to Pack in a Hospital Bag for Surgery? It’s Easy.

I remember my husband’s first surgery for cancer.  I was a wreck.  

We had no idea what to expect and I was filled with so much anxiety, I wasn’t even sure how we’d get through this.  

(Note:  if you’re feeling super anxious about an upcoming surgery, it’s a good idea to read this.  It helped me tremendously…

I was worried about everything…

  • What if something goes wrong?
  • What if they miss something?
  • What if it doesn’t work?

When you’re getting ready for surgery and you have no idea what you’ll need… You’re already dealing with way too much stress and anxiety to be able to try and figure it out.

Whether you’re scheduled hospital stay is for one night or a full week, this list will make packing quick and painless and can be completely done in a matter of minutes.  

What to pack in hospital bag for surgery has never been easier. This list has everything you’ll need to be prepared for your upcoming surgery, all you have to do is follow it.

Hint:  If you’re a caregiver, support person, or a family member helping a loved one who has cancer, you need a bag too… You can find that list here…

bag packed with clothes, cell chargers- text says wondering what to pack in a hospital bag for surgery It's easy

Update:  What if we could take away some of your cancer-related stress?  

What if we could show you a quick and easy way to organize important medical information so you can actually find what you’re looking for?

No hassle, no stress, with a quick and easy set up that takes minutes to maintain.  And the best part… It’s 100% Free.

You can get the Cancer Binder Pack here…

Hospital Bag Essentials

Hint:  Pack a small overnight bag if possible for your hospital visit.  A backpack or a small carry-on bag (not a suitcase).  They generally give you a cubby shelf to keep your personal items on, so there is not a ton of extra room for your personal belongings.   

The Day of Surgery…

  • Your insurance card: If this is needed during check-in, make sure to send this home with someone once you’re done with it.
  • Photo id: to prove who you are, then send it home.
  • List of your current medications: They double-check this every time, usually 5 or six times before you go in. Skip lugging in the empty bottle and have it clearly written down on a sheet of paper. Make sure to include… The medicine, dosage, and why you take it. *This isn’t just for prescription medications, make sure to include any vitamins or supplements. Send this home with someone once you’re done with it.

For the Extended Stay…

  • Cell Phone: This goes without saying, as everyone takes their phone everywhere… Have someone hold it during the surgery, but make sure you get it back after. Keeping in contact, distraction, endless waiting… the phone will help with that. And being able to talk to you will ease everyone else’s anxiety.
  • Long phone charger (6 ft, 10 ft) including a block. So you can stay in contact with the people you love, play games and watch movies while you’re stuck.
  • Ear Phones. It helps with the incessant beeping of the machines (and difficult roommates).
  • Hand sanitizer.  To keep your hands clean. 
  • Book(s) to read.  Choose something you would LOVE to read and grab a backup in case it’s a bust.
  • Glasses, glass case, and lens cleaners.  If you wear glasses, or contact lenses (ask about these- you’re probably going to need to remove them) don’t forget to pack a case to protect them and glass cleaners to clean them up.
  • 1 pair of socks.  To go home in, hospitals usually make you wear the socks with the tread on the bottom to reduce the chances of slipping.
  • 3 pairs of underwear. I grab a few extra pairs in case you have to stay a few days (you always feel better in your own underwear)!
  • Boxer shorts for men:  These help tremendously if there is a catheter involved.  
  • 2 pairs of yoga pants/sweat pants/gym shorts/ or pajama pants. A nice addition to the hospital gown and great for walking without exposure.  Plus, they’re comfortable clothes to go home in.  
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste or denture cup (if needed). Many hospitals provide this, but some don’t.
  • Deodorant. Most people prefer their own.
  • Dry Shampoo: Basically it absorbs the oil in your hair when you’re not allowed to shower. It makes you feel better, plus it makes your hair smell better.
  • Wet Wipes: Are great for everything! Hands, face, arms, neck… being able to somewhat bathe (BY YOURSELF) is a pretty big deal when you’re stuck in the hospital for days.
  • 1 T-shirt. Part of your going-home outfit.  They’ll make you wear the hospital gown for your entire stay.
  • Lip Balm: The one they give you in the hospital doesn’t work, bring your own. You won’t be sorry.
  • Notebook and a pen.  For notes, journaling, and “screaming” in writing!
  • Facial cleansing towelettes. Nothing like the feeling of a clean face when you can’t take a shower. 
  • Slip-on comfortable shoes. Easy to get into shoes (with solid traction) so you can walk around a little if you get the chance.
  • Hair ties (if needed). Because you can literally never find them when you need them.
  • Comfort items: For adults and children. For my husband, it was a picture of me and the kids. Staying in the hospital can be pretty nerve-wracking.
  • Deck of cards: For tons of game options to pass the time.  Solitaire, Rummy 500, Golf, Poker…
  • Electronic device: Like an iPad or a Kindle to read, play games, or catch up on social media while you’re waiting to get out.
  • Cash and 1 credit card:  I like to keep a few dollars in cash, and sometimes you need credit cards to turn on the TV and/or phone service. Also, gives you the option to sneak something out of the vending machine (you know for healthy snacks) when you get sick of hospital food!
  • Medical equipment:  Like a CPAP machine and CPAP mask for Sleep Apnea (don’t forget to pre-pack distilled water and cleaning detergent).  
  • Plastic bag: To separate and carry out any dirty laundry on the first day after surgery.

What Not to Pack In Hospital Bag For Surgery…

  • Don’t Bring Medicine.  The nurses have to give you ANY medication you take in the hospital, even Tylenol.  They usually prefer that you don’t bring any meds to the hospital, but if you have something rare or unusual I usually pack it in case they don’t have it (that’s happened to us before).
  • Don’t bring your wallet: Hospitals are not secure and It’s easy for things to go missing.  If you need a debit card to turn on the phone or TV send it home with one of your visitors.
  • Don’t Wear Jewelry: Often needs to be removed before surgery, so leave that stuff at home.
  • Don’t bring your car keys:  Leave them with someone else.
  • Don’t bring canes/walkers/personal wheelchairs:  unless they ask.  Things get lost and it’s really hard to keep track of items like that.  Hospitals have accessible wheelchairs for moving around if you need one.  And you usually have to leave in one as well.  
  • Don’t keep your insurance cards: The hospital will have this all sorted out before surgery, sometimes days beforehand, but you don’t want to keep insurance or a medicare card lying around the hospital.
P.S.  What if we could take away some of your cancer-related stress?  

What if we could show you a quick and easy way to organize important medical information so you can actually find what you’re looking for?

No hassle, no stress, with a quick and easy setup that takes minutes to maintain.  And the best part… It’s 100% Free.

You can get the Cancer Binder Pack here…

This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. We only recommend products that we use and LOVE. You can see our full disclosure here for further information.

 We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

About The Author

Similar Posts