A few weeks back we were doing the latest round of hospital living. My mum went in for more brain surgery to remove her reoccurred GBM tumor.
Over this three week period many items were purchased and/or packed to make her life on the inside more enjoyable. So in the spirit of helping others, here is what she found useful. I have also included tips regarding accommodation and food. Please note, this list is likely to vary from person to person, ailment to ailment:
Pyjamas that are stylish and don't look too much like pjs. You want something your loved one can wear during the day, visit the hospital cafe in and feel fairly respectable. CottonOn Body and Myer have great options. Make sure you have several pairs, include dressing gowns and socks. You will need enough to keep your patient stocked up while you do a laundry run.
Air diffusers such as the Dusk ones. They really make a stay more comfortable by keeping gross hospital smells to a minimum.
Audiobooks. Due to my mum's condition she found reading too hard but enjoyed having audiobooks, especially humorous ones.
Favourite toiletries including a luxurious hand cream. Any little treat turns into a big one when being prodded and hooked up to various devices. You can also give your loved one foot and hand rubs.
Pictures of people and things they love.
Noise cancellation earphones. Mum used these all the time not only to watch or listen to entertainment but also just to cancel out the beeps, groans and constant noise of a hospital ward.
Note pad and paper. To write down any questions they might have for doctors, lists, or random scribbles.
A nice throw for the bed. Much more homely and comfortable than the standard hospital corners.
A vase for all those flowers that get sent.
Pillows from home. As my mum often had to sleep sitting upright she found great comfort in having her favourite pillows from home. Don't forget to bring some extra pillow slips so they can be regularly washed (especially if you have a healing head incision on your hands).
Helpful tips for the carer:
If you have to travel interstate to care for your loved one, consider hiring an apartment instead of a hotel room. If you are staying near Royal North Shore in Sydney let me know and I can send you a great recommendation right in the St Leonards' Forum. Apartments are so much better because you have a home base including a kitchen to prepare meals, a washing machine and several bedrooms. As a family unit you can stay connected while having your own space. Try for somewhere walking distance to the hospital, public transport and a grocery store.
Shift work. With all of us having work and family commitments, our family took turns being in Sydney and coming back to Canberra. It is a long slog and the load has to be shared.
Find the best places for healthy meals close by. You will soon get sick of hospital cafe food and so will your loved one. Again, if staying near Royal North Shore let me know and I can tell you some of them. I can also let you know about a great Thai massage place too!
Hopefully the above helps in some small way. Over the last year I have had lots of time in hospitals so if you are ever after more advice or support just drop me a line, happy to help. Also, don't be afraid to comment with some of your own tips!!