My 87-year-old parents live independently but more than 100 miles away from where I live.

My mother is quite a seasoned hospital patient, with numerous stays and appointments over the last few years. So far this year, she has had one admission and five visits to A&E. You would have thought by now, we would be very prepared and able to pack everything required for either a visit to outpatients, A&E or a stay on a ward.

But no, this isn’t the case, and we would like to share with you a few items that would have made a difference both to my mother and my father.

Food and drink – avoiding being hungry or getting dehydrated

While my mother and father are capable of packing a bag to go to hospital either for an appointment, an emergency visit to A&E or a stay on a ward, no matter how many times I remind them, food and drink never get packed.

And yet for each hospital visit, it is food and drink that has been important and lack of, an issue. From long waits in A&E, to arriving on a ward after meal times, to waiting for discharge papers and medication in a hospital lounge after a stay, having some food and drink would have made a big difference.

Provisions need not be much – a bottle of water or fruit juice along with a few biscuits would have made these waits more comfortable for both my mother and father, They would have stopped my mother getting dehydrated and irritable.

A phone – oops the battery has run out

But it hasn’t just been food and drink missing from the bag. While not all 87-year-olds use a mobile phone or a tablet, my mother does. However, the frustration comes when the battery runs out and she has forgotten to take the phone charger. My mother and father have now invested in a spare charger and hopefully for the next hospital visit this will be in the packed bag along with the phone.

Mobility – getting around the ward without help

My mother is unsteady on her feet and has a Zimmer frame and a rollator at home, but neither of these were packed for her last hospital stay. This meant for the first couple of days she was dependent on the nurses to help her get around the ward. My father, who is a little forgetful at times, eventually remembered to take the rollator into the ward and my mother was then able to move around without help.

And finally – a useful list of things to take

The NHS has published a very useful list of things to take for a stay in hospital,  What to pack for hospital. When getting ready for another hospital visit, I will remind my mother and father to look at this list and most importantly to take a drink, some biscuits and a phone charger, which will make all the difference to their next hospital visit!

Image by jcomp on Freepik