What's in your emergency grab-n-go bag?

jennJanuary 19, 2014

I'm assembling a bag of essentials to take with me when my mom or husband are taken to the ER and/or admitted to the hospital. It's happened several times in the past few years, and it took me about an hour to get everything together for a 1-2 week stay in the hospital. The hospital has a pull-out bed for me to sleep and plenty of drawer space for clothes (every room is private). All the comforts of home -- as long as my essentials are with me.

My list includes the "essentials" and additional items to throw in as I leave (checkbook, cell phone charger, etc.)

Do you have such a bag? In addition to the obvious essentials (clothing, cosmetics, hygiene, a little cash, etc.), what are some things I might not think of, or things you wished you had on these occasions? My list is fairly complete but I'm wondering if there's anything else to consider.

Such is the life of the caregiver, eh?

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CA Kate

As I readied for a possible trip to the emergency room this weekend the first thing I found and put in my purse was his Advanced Medical Directive.

As to what I wish I'd had with me the last time, but not the obvious, were: a gel pad chair cushion; my iPad; Kleenex; aspirin and Allegra; an over-shirt or sweater for when the room got cold; packages of protein snacks, like nuts and granola, loose or in bars; something to do besides read and work crosswords.... maybe some handwork.

One thing I learned right away was to wear warm shoes with socks..... to heck with cute! My feet about froze the first day in the ICU. All of us waiters in the family room all had learned that lesson and no one was wearing anything not warm.

I actually hadn't thought about taking a spare pair of undies or clothes since I had to leave the ICU each night. It probably wouldn't hurt to make myself a little bag. Thanks for the idea. I just may need it yet this week.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 11:09PM
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Chargers for any of your electronic gadgets. As sad as it may sound the name and telephone numbers of the funeral home to be used.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 11:18PM
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Thank you for the suggestions. Westelle, your mention of the Advanced Medical Directive reminds me it is time to update ours.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 2:25PM
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Nothing, the hospital provides every thing I need. I have a do not resuscitate document at the hospital and my ER info with my POA is in my purse and I think it is also in the hospitals files.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 9:39AM
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Emma, I'm referring to a bag for caregivers, not patients. It is true that the hospital will provide most of the patient's needs.

However, caregivers who stay with the patient in the hospital need their own clothes and other personal items that the hospital doesn't provide. I stayed with my husband for 10 days and nights, and having a complete bag with me made the stay more comfortable without having to drive home to get more.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 10:36AM
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Medications I would need to take. Change of clothes including comfortable shoes, books to read, puzzle books. Something warm like a sweater or light weight jacket, Toiletries, toothbrush and paste, Phone numbers and chargers. Change for vending machines to name a few.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 11:01AM
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The Advanced directive and other papers plus contact names and phone numbers should be in your purse at all times. And please do not expect it to be on file at the hospital. It should be, but don't take chances (been there, done that.) And when you allow someone to copy it for files, stand by and get your original back right then, do not surrender it to anyone.

Words from experience.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 1:24PM
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CA Kate

Interesting, sushipup, I never thought about their not giving the papers back. I have spares at home and had actually expected them to keep what I gave them... but they never have.

I agree that you can't count on them having the files on record; always best to bring the papers along again..... and again.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 4:41PM
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I'm going to tee off on sushipup's suggestion. From almost two decades caring for mom and dad until their passing, I have very strong opinions about papers and directives.

If/when an "event" occurs, you won't know what it will be, how it's going to go, or if you, yourself, will be thinking straight or not at that moment.

Carry (on your person!) THREE copies (separate packets!) of POA, living will, DNR, Medical POA, current medication list with dosage and schedule, Medic-Alert sheet describing known existing conditions. One set for you, one for EMT's, and one for the hospital. Takes little space and can save time, confusion, and aggravation at what may well be a critical time.

In my personal experience with (many) instances of necessity, having these documents ready to hand over to EMT's and hospital staff saved MUCH time and confusion for everyone....and allowed ME to worry about other stuff.

On every single occasion, I received feedback from EMT's and/or hospital staff along the lines of "This is great. I wish everyone did this."

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 12:32PM
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I would also include copies of insurance cards with medical info packets.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 3:02PM
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Great suggestions, everyone -- thanks!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 3:21PM
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For items that you use every day, such as meds or a tablet, keep a list in your go-bag to help you remember.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 11:43AM
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