Unplanned Hospitalization

An unplanned hospitalization occurs unless it’s an elective, planned procedure or surgery. Because to the Covid-19 pandemic, thousands of people are going to the hospital unexpectedly.


You are too old to be a Boy Scout or Girl Scout, but you are never too old to be prepared. Many Floridians have “Emergency Kits” for hurricane preparedness, so adding some other things to make a hospital stay more comfortable, is easier.

Don’t go to the hospital unless there is a medical emergency. Especially now, we don’t want to add to the caseload of hospital staff. Consult your doctor or medical specialist first. But if it is a true emergency, such as heart attack or stroke symptoms, call 911. In this situation, the unplanned hospitalization “hospital bag” is a good idea. If your elder parent has a home care aide, putting together a hospital bag is a good task for them to do together.

If you are experiencing a fever, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing and go to the Emergency Room you may be put in isolation. Pack some things for that possibility. Isolation means no visitors who can bring things to you and the gift shop is closed.

Suggestions for your “Hospital Bag”

 Certainly travel light. Limit any valuables (you don’t need any jewelry) and concentrate on the things you will need and the things you will want to have. Must haves include; photo ID, Insurance cards, legal documents, (copies- Durable Power of Attorney, Medical Surrogate, HIPPA releases, Living Will), eyeglasses, hearing aids with batteries, phone or tablet and charger.

Other items to pack include:

~List of your medications – names & dosages

~List of names and contact info for doctors, family and friends. (These are likely in your phone)

~Contact info for whomever will be taking care of a pet – leave instructions, hand sanitizer and gloves for the person providing pet care

~A reading or puzzle book

~Underwear, Bra

~Sweats or pajamas and robe

~Reading glasses

~Pen and paper

~Salve for your lips

~Moisturizing lotion

~Hairbrush, clips or bands

~Mints, snacks or sucking candies

~Medications or vitamins– which you should share with the doctor or nurse

Think what items make you feel refreshed, comfortable and can pass the time. The more info you can have in your phone will leave room for other comfort items.

Caregivers or FamilyMembers

When another person, spouse, friend, relative is making discharge arrangements for you, make sure the hospital has it in your chart/notes that they have a Durable Power of Attorney so that hospital personnel will share information with them.  If the person who is your Power of Attorney does NOT want to assume any personal responsibility for any hospital or rehab bills or services, it is recommended they sign as “Power of Attorney”.  At least in Florida, you cannot be held responsible so long as you sign as the power of attorney, not just your name.