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Readers Respond: What Are the Best Things to Have With You During Psychiatric Hospitalization?

Responses: 17

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Updated April 11, 2010

From the article: Packing for the Hospital
Have you been hospitalized as an inpatient in a psychiatric ward or hospital? In the article Packing for the Hospital, several items are listed as good to have along. Are there other items you found most useful to take with you or to have someone bring to you after you were already in the hospital? Are there items you wish you'd had with you? Share your answers with others who might be facing the same situation in the future. Share Your Experience

my experience

I was placed on a hold at my counseling appointment, so I was whisked away into the hospital with just the clothes I was wearing, a cellphone which I had to put in the patients safe and two dollars in change. I called my son who that nite brought me several pants and tops, pajamas, toiletries and alot of change for the payphones and to buy snacks from the vending machine. The telephone change was very helpful since you needed it to make calls during freetime
—Guest Ida

Keep prepacked bag

Keep a bag packed for the hospital if you have a serious and chronic mental illness thay youve been hospitalized for before. You dont need alot of stuff, but its very helpful to have a bag packed and ready to go with several shirts, sweat or jogging type pants, brush, underwear and some type of reading. Also some hospitals let you bring snacks like crackers. If you like to drink soda, in some hospitals you can bring soda if its in a plastic bottle. Small things can be very comforting and being able to enjoy my diet sodas was very nice for me in the afternoon
—Guest Denise

Helpful stuff to bring

Comfie sweat type pants, tshirts light weight sweater jacket or hoodie without strings, socks several pairs of undies, Bible or other religious book, where I went allows you to bring snacks and sodas that are in a plastic bottle, I found this very helpful as a pick me up since the meals arent very big id be hungry in between and found it comforting to have crackers and soda to tide me over and settle my stomacg which gets upset when im anxious and depressed. I couldnt always eat but it was nice to have some comforting snacks available. Also its nice to have your own pillow and a puzzle ir coliring book. Its a good idea to keep a small bag or backpack packed in your car, especialy if you feel yourself getting depressed or manic and you know theres a chance youll end up in the hospital. Its not fun to end up in the hospital and have nothing with you. I remember one woman who wore the same outfit everyday at the hospital bc she didnt come prepared
—Guest Deedee

I Bring

I have a bag prepacked with a pair of Indoor/outdoor slippers ,*Fuzzy Socks-just cause I'm odd like that *My Pillow, *Multiple coloring books and crayons *My own toiletries, Shampoo, deodorant, toothbrush,toothpaste, lotion, hair brush * EAR PLUGS! * 2 pairs of Lounging pants * at least one sweatshirt *list of medications and conditions they're prescribed for as well as prescribing doctors info, *prepaid phone card and a list of people's names and numbers I actually want to talk to,*enough underwear for a week * comfy pj's, * feminine care products if you're male you can bring those too just for the reaction factor, *my journal and favorite pen.. I also have my mp3 player packed, some places will let you use them, others will keep them locked away.
—Guest GinMari

What I could bring

I wasn't allowed to have a whole lot, including electronics, anything with alcohol in the first three ingredients. I brought 5 shirts, 3 pants, 1 pair flip flops, 1 pair tennis shoes, jammies, stuffed teddy, family photo, 4 coloring books (jumbo ones with 100 pages), crayons (64 pack), and bible. Toiletries were provided and included toothbrush (plastic one), mouthwash and you had to bring your own shampoo with no alcohol. They refused to give me any toothpaste so take that into consideration.
—Guest me22

Thank you!

To everyone who posted about what to bring to the psychiatric ward, thank you so much! My son is there for the first time and I had no idea what would be allowed. Many blessings to all of us who are suffering from mental illness or suffering because of a loved one with mental illness.
—kellbarr

Been their a lot...

I have been admitted to the hospital and I find its good to bring some of your most comforting items, I usually bring my favorite blanket and my stuffie I got when I was younger, Weirdly it was given to me by the hospital during a accident me and my mom were in. When I was admitted against my will, they let me write a list of stuff I wanted from home. I put : my blanket, my stuffie, some books, and my favorite P.J's. The rooms were big and it was quite nerve racking for me to be their with strangers since I have social phobia. With a lot of help from the nurses and professionals I adjusted quickly and made a few friends. Now we all stay in touch, a event like this in anyone's life is one that you wont forget :)
—Guest psychpatient15

what to bring to the hospital with you

PJs, meds, a hoodie without the string, socks, sneakers without the laces, 5-6 panties, 5 shirts, 2 pants. A book, puzzle book, coloring book & crayons, shampoo, soap, deodorant, lotion, toothbrush, toothpaste. I bring my teddy bear for comfort (I'm 52 yrs old). Change for phone. Gum, notebook, phone #'s of those you want to call. It does depend on your condition and the hospital whether they let you have all of the above. I keep a "hospital" backpack ready to go, even thoigh I've only been in the hospital 4 -5 times in 21 years. It's my OCD. lol
—Guest julez1423

What to bring when being admitted

In the past when I've been admitted into a hospital, it was always really important for me to bring items that would make me feel like I was at home. I'm sure for everyone that has responded to this post would agree that things that give you comfort will be the best thing to bring with you. When I went into hospitals, I always made sure that I had a book, food that I enjoyed, lots of magazines!, slippers, and any other things that were in my room that would make me feel like I was at home. Going to a hospital is always hard at first and the most important thing for me was comfort. Since I wasn't around family or friends too much, reminders of home were the best things for me to bring.
—briana456

..... make-up, clothes and jewelry

When first hospitalized by my husband at the time, I had just the clothes I was wearing for a week until I was informed that there was a used clothing 'store' that I had access to in the hospital basement. Years later during a manic episode I was planning to go to the hospital and this time brought the items that made me comfortable and feel like myself. Matching outfits. Make-up. A hair dryer. Jewelry. It's somewhat frightening to be manic or suicidally depressed and to look different than I normally do makes me feel worse mentally. What would be allowed would, of course, vary depending on the facility - but given the option, I'd bring everything I usually use, including deodorant, lotion, and make-up, as my self-esteem is better when I feel I look good. It helps me get well faster.
—Guest Katherine

Hospitalization success

Going to the hospital can be kind of scary right??? Well I was allowed my teddybear and blanket, pillow I had to use a walker I couldn't use my cane. They got me stable on meds. It was a good thing. I also found out I was bipolar1 after they sent me to outpatient day treatment. I learned alot. maybe your town has something simlar. The intensive outpatient program was the best thing For me.
—Staceysunshine627

My Stuff

I was never allowed my blankets, teddy bear, pillows ect... though I wish I had been. Something to write on and something to read are a necessity. Also, a coloring book that you like or a puzzle book or crossword are good. Most places I have been provide a washer and dryer, but still bring 3-5 days of clothing. Try to bring sandals or slip on shoes with no shoe laces. What else is allowed is very limited and varies from place to place. "Safe" hobbies like oragami, a deck of cards, or a squishy stress relief ball may or may not be allowed. I was even at one place that allowed you to use laptops (and provided wifi) if you stayed in sight of the nurses! On the other hand one wouldn't even allow hair ties. Try to call and ask if you know ahead where you are going. If not pack it and see- as long as it isn't too valuable! You really never know.
—Guest GiGi

packing for the hospital

When first being admitted to the psychiatric ward, they take everything from you, so I have learned to just bring my basic needs, my husband as my med info, and regular doctor info. Then for the first 4 days , I had to wear hospital gown and bottoms. After those first 4 days or so I got to go to the less strict side, wear I could wear my clothes, but no jeans, no strings, and no pens or paper in your room. You could have a paperback book though. You still can't have flowers no vases, no containers of any kind are allowed. Once I get on that side and get permission to leave the unit supervised you can go to the cafeteria, but someone else has to pay because you are not allowed to have any money. I have been there 4 times, and every time it is an adventure.
—mapalmer08

If you can think clear pack these:

* Books - 2-3, depending how fast you can read * Several days worth of clothing - undies for each day - I wore socks, pants and shirts 2-3 times (I wasn't offered the chance to wash my clothing) * Hoody without drawstring - staff will remove the string if you don't (ask that it be kept with your locked up belongings) - It may be cold to help keep down the germs * Bound pad for doodling, writing or taking notes * Crayons or markers - pens weren't allowed because of the sharp points * Phone numbers of people you need to contact * A list of people you want to visit/contact you - Try to limit it to family and local friends - I wasn't allowed to call my best friend out of state, but she could call me. * A list of people you do NOT want to visit/contact you. If possible, ask about each hospital's rules. I wasn't allowed my teddy bear or my special weighted blanket (helps calm sensory overload) - Dr finally allowed the blanket, but I was discharged the same day.
—Guest GG

bring it on

-a book -underwear -journal -slippers -pjs with no drawstrings -a sweatshirt -toothpaste etc. -phone numbers on paper My first visit I called my friend and he brought me things. I wasn't allowed to go home. He packed 4 bras, 8 pairs of underwear, a t-shirt and a pair of pants that happened to be too small. It was horrible. But I still laugh about all the bras he packed
—Guest jo

Things I brought to the Hospital

It really depends on the hospital, but I found having my Teddy Bear comforting at night, a blanket and pillow from home (theirs are usually not comfortable and warm), a bound notebook or journal for writing, a drawing tablet if you are artistic with short colored pencils (they can be cut in half at home before being brought to you, just the basic 8 colors), a photo of your family not framed, and books to read, including prayer books if your religion has them. Mine does, and it came in handy for meditation. Socks too, and a sweater as the floor tends to be cool or cold. I liked sweat suits, as they were attractive, and kept you warm. Most floors have laundry facilities, so pack 3 days worth of clothes, and every three days, you'd be doing laundry if you stay that long. Most stays are 3 to 5 days these days, so at the most you might be doing laundry once. I also found hand lotion helpful, which is kept in your "sharps" container, but you might get a small cup for some during the day.
—Guest PegHost

This is a ridiculous question.

One minute, I was confiding in a social worker about my family's difficulties. The next minute, I was strapped to a gurney headed 45 miles away from my home town with no rights at all. All I had with me was my cell phone, which was confiscated from me, and the contents of my purse, which was ditto. I guess the things that spring to mind would be toothpaste and toothbrush, deodorant, an extra pair of panties, and a small bottle of Nair, since I was unable to shave under my arms for a week and a half. NO one at the hospital provided me extra clothing or anything other than generic toiletries. I ended up with an extra outfit from a kind soul who was checking out, but I had to wash the same pair of underwear every day. The hospital gowns that were provided served as pajamas. All I can say is, if you think you're going to be hospitalized, keep a bag in your purse and be prepared!
—eggshell1

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What Are the Best Things to Have With You During Psychiatric Hospitalization?

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