OstomyLife Community

What to Bring to the Hospital

Laura Cox, LPC
Ostomy Lifestyle Specialist | Shield HealthCare
04/11/16  2:26 PM PST
What to Bring to the Hospital

Being prepared for the hospital will help make your hospital stay as pleasant as possible. There are certain supplies you need to make sure you bring and other things you can pack to make you comfortable. Here’s a list of suggestions for what to bring to the hospital.

Health Supplies and Necessities 

  • Photo ID
  • Insurance card
  • Medical records
  • List of emergency contacts
  • Ostomy supplies
  • Pills, just in case the hospital doesn’t carry all of your medications
  • Phone and phone charger
  • Notebook and pen to write down any information or questions for the doctors
  • Underwear


  • Tablet or laptop and charger (and possibly an indoor extension cord for convenience)
  • Puzzles, DVDs, books, music
  • Art supplies


  • Deodorant
  • Lip balm (Chapstick)
  • Dry Shampoo
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Glasses and/or contacts
  • Razor
  • Tissues (the hospital provides the rough ones, so if you’re partial to the lotion-filled, you may want to bring your own)
  • Hair brush
  • Lozenges (hospital air can be pretty dry and wreak havoc on your throat)


  • Sandals for shower
  • Slip-on type shoes for short walks
  • Earplugs
  • Eye cover
  • Comfy clothes, preferably short sleeves or long sleeves with zip or button up front so the physicians can access your IV
  • Blankets and pillows (if you have specific ones that are “must-have” – otherwise, the hospital will provide these)
  • Lotion
  • Posters or decorations to make the room as comfy and happy as possible
  • Snacks
  • Candy for nurses – they’ll like coming to your room!
  • Socks
  • Slippers
  • Heating pad for abdomen
  • One of our FB community member suggestions was a “reacher grabber” — one of those claw-type things that can help you pick up things off the floor. Definitely a thought if you’re getting surgery that will make bending over difficult!

If you have any other suggestions about what to bring to the hospital, we would love to hear your list!

Find related articles and resources about ostomy surgery below:

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Serving Medicare Ostomates Nationwide
Dear Laura, I wear a two piece ostomy bag. I need help with concealing an ostomy bag. When I move around my shirt hikes up and the tip of the bag peeks out from under my shirt.
Hi Tom, I have a few suggestions that may help!
First, I'm wondering if a stealth belt would be a good option for you. This is a black belt that you can conveniently tuck your pouch...



  1. Andrew
    Posted April 14, 2016 at 10:46 am PDT

    I always bring headphones or ear buds with my phone or tablet. Helps to ‘get away’ from hispital sounds, plus, it is a courteous thing to do if you nust share a room. Also, bring your Patience and Positivity!

  2. Posted April 14, 2016 at 11:20 am PDT

    Great suggestion about the headphones! I LOVE that you said to bring patience and positivity! These are two things we can’t pack, but are so important to cope with a hospitalization! Thanks for sharing Andrew! 🙂

  3. Ed A.
    Posted April 27, 2016 at 4:16 pm PDT

    Hi, Laura, how about a dressing gown? I’ve no experience of US hospitals, but in the UK the places can get chilly (or overwhelmingly hot). Also as well as credit cards, take enough old-fashion money for those trips to the hospital shop and vending machines as you get back on your feet again.

    Don’t leave your sense of humour at home. Whatever you’re going through, smiles and laughter help you as well as the others you encounter, from the doctors and nurses right through to the cleaners…

  4. Posted May 4, 2016 at 9:19 am PDT

    I love this whole comment! Yes, it’s generally pretty chilly in the hospitals here too! I always bring my comfiest slippers and pajama bottoms.

    Sense of humour is imperative to healing and coping! I don’t know about you, but sometimes physicians haven’t taken my pain as seriously because I smile and am cheerful when they walk in the door, even though I’m in pain. I end up having to explain that it’s how I cope and that it doesn’t mean I don’t need help!

  5. Ed Abel
    Posted May 13, 2016 at 2:42 pm PDT

    Laura, sounds like physicians are the same everywhere. I guess they have trouble if you appear bubbly as they have got used to patients who haven’t been able to find the energy inside to be positive… Getting your head around being ill and keeping going is a whole other topic! Still it seems to be working well for you so don’t change your strategy. Your posts are inspirational.

  6. Mary H.
    Posted April 26, 2018 at 5:37 pm PDT

    Great list. I wish I had this list over the years. After surgery, the Operating Room folks put that see-through bag on you. When you feel better you can put on your own ostomy supplies. It is also good to know the make, style, and sizes of your ostomy supplies. Example: Convatec, SurFit Natura, drainable pouch, 45mm. Memorizing this info is handy when travelling as well (I might loose the list?). Never fails that I get separated from my handbag (purse) or carryon. One more thing, I bring a small pillow or stuffed animal that fits my stomach after surgeries that open my abdomen completely. It’s good in the hospital bed and walking to the rest room…Thanks for all the good ideas and comments!

  7. Sherry Carter
    Posted February 19, 2022 at 5:57 am PST

    I have to comment – I laughed when I read the list to take to the hospital. I envisioned three suitcases of things not used. I always have taken too much. I take a suitcase and only ever use about three things out of it. However, I have not been to the hospital longer than the five days I spent in ICU following my non-reversible proctocolectomy surgery, and I couldn’t have cared less about anything I brought, or been able to get to them, as I couldn’t lift the suitcase to get into it. There was nowhere to leave it out. I was in a wonderful hospital, had a wonderful surgeon, I was in 3 days after 5 in ICU. The only time I got into the suitcase was when I checked in and when I got dressed to go home. Other than that, I only got into the soft-sided overnight bag that had my makeup, robe, a change of clothes to go home in. I got my book out, but was cautioned not to take anything like an iPad, etc, as there are too many people in and out of the room, and chances of the items disappearing could be great. But, in 2007, things were a bit different. My thought/advice would be to remember that whatever you take in, you have to carry out, after surgery, when you are not (at least, I was not); supposed to lift for 3-5 days, then nothing over 10 pounds for the next three months. Something to consider . . .

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