The Hospital Bag Backstory:
As many of you who read the blog may be aware, earlier this year my Mother Joan was taken to hospital. She was admitted with a suspected infection which later turned out to be sepsis (blood poisoning) triggered by an unnoticed urine infection. In dementia, not drinking enough water can be common and also lethal.
Mum ended up in a London hospital and for the most part, the care on the ward was far from great. I talk more about this here. (Scroll to interview section of that article.)
There was no TV in Mum’s hospital room and no one sat with her. We had to keep explaining daily to staff that she couldn’t drink or eat alone and needed assistance as food and drinks were being left on the table out of reach. After resorting to putting up signs on the wall, because explaining to every member of staff (which changed daily and sometimes hourly) was exhausting, I decided placing a family member with Mum every day for 4-5 hours would be of help also. Not everyone can do this of course.
For the hours that Mum was alone, we knew she’d be bored. She was in isolation, so in a room to herself and could literally look at four blank walls. There were no pictures, no TV (as mentioned) no radio, absolutely nothing.
It has been proven that people recover faster when they’re happy, have loved ones around them and even with animal visits. I found myself ferrying more and more items from her room at her nursing home to the hospital. By the end of the stay in hospital, these were bagged up by staff.
The Hospital Bag is Born:
It was only once we were back at Bupa that I realised as I unpacked the bag that everyone who is terminally ill should have a hospital bag pre-prepared, fit for purpose and to hand in case they are rushed to hospital in an emergency. This is the only was to ensure that if they travel alone and can’t speak for themselves, they will have all that they need.
I decided that the best place for the hospital bag would be on a hook by the door, in Mum’s room at her nursing home Bupa. Although all staff were told about the bag, a sign above it as a reminder to take it, was added as well.
The bag is from Asos.
They don’t currently sell this one however they have other shoppers which are nice.
This one (Wanderlust) is adorable.
This one is also brightly coloured (palms) and would be fit for purpose.
Mum’s bag hangs in her room, as mentioned and the hooks are removable.
Everyone has different needs so this could be replicated in any way necessary. Mum’s bag contains the following:
. . .
*Signs explaining her care
*DVD player and DVD (charged so can be used without plug-in) the charger as well
Mum’s is from Argos. The exact one is on our IG and is slightly different to the currently stocked model. They do have this one, same make and size and colour which you can find here. The DVD I picked up at the same time in store for a few quid was the emoji movie which was a hit and made her laugh, so that ticked the box.
*Soft book (a favourite)
*A drinking cup fit for purpose & a straw
(not all items shown here)
Links to toys I leave here.
Stage Dementia Appropriate:
It’s important to point out that these items are stage appropriate for where Mum is in her dementia at the moment. For someone in early stage dementia, crossword puzzles may be possible (they were for my Mum until mid-stage dementia), books or even photographs may be of comfort. It all depends on the individual.
Much like a maternity hospital bag, you can add whatever you like. This could extend to spare clothes (if more than an overnight stay), toiletries or other personal items.
I don’t know if other people have done this but let us know your thoughts in the comments. What would you pack for your loved one? Do you like the idea? If you yourself were admitted to hospital, what would you take with you?