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Thursday, June 4, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Bring Your Own Clothes For Long Hospital Stays

By Shanna Southern Peterson Correspondent

Like it or not, many of us will eventually be patients in a hospital. It could be for the birth of a baby, heart surgery, or the removal of a kidney stone.

Whatever the reason, your visit to a local medical facility is not the time to forget your fashion sense. You may feel lousy, but recuperation time will be reduced if you spend some time on your appearance. Pack for your hospital admission just as you would plan for a weekend away from home. You want comfortable, appropriate attire, and you want to look your best under the circumstances. Choose bright colors that make you feel cheerful. You’ll look better; that tends to help you feel better.

It is important to exercise restraint when packing for a stay at the hospital. Tom Sofio, public relations coordinator at Sacred Heart Medical Center, says the average patient stay is now down to five days or less, so there’s no need to pack as though you’re spending a month on the French Riviera.

Kathy Draper, director of surgical services at Sacred Heart says, “By the time you are feeling better you’ll already be home so don’t bring your entire wardrobe. Just a few comfortable, cozy, colorful things are a good idea.”

Draper adds, “Patients are sometimes moved from one unit to another during their stay. Each time they are moved everything is packed up and moved with them so it’s a good idea to keep the number of belongings to a minimum.”

The hospital will provide a gown, but you have the option of bringing your own night clothes. Wearing your own sleeping attire means you need to make arrangements to have the soiled garments taken home to be washed and have clean ones brought in at least daily.

Pajamas are recommended rather than nighties or nightshirts because it’s easier for the medical staff to administer medications and monitor healing if you are wearing a two-piece set instead of a long gown.

If you choose to wear the lovely backless hospital gown you may want to bring along a pair of comfortable boxer shorts to wear with it. This helps avoid those embarrassing moments in the hall when you realize the breeze just got a bit brisker on your backside.

A bed jacket (similar to a bathrobe but it only goes to the waist) or a shawl to throw over your shoulders is suggested if you are expecting visitors. Either will help keep you warm while sitting up in bed.

Be sure to remember a pair of slippers. They should be soft to accommodate swelling of the feet and ankles and have non-skid soles. Leave the fancy high-heeled boudoir slippers at home. They are only apt to cause you to take a tumble.

Women should bring some makeup and a set of Velcro rollers. Even if you don’t feel up to it, ask one of your visitors to help apply some blush and put a few curls in your hair so you don’t have that unattractive bed-head look all day.

Men need to pack a razor and shaving cream so they can shave every morning. Again, if you can’t manage it on your own, ask for help.

Pack clothing that will be easy to put on and removed independently. You don’t want to be stuck trying to put on a fancy jacket with lots of belts and zippers when your mobility is restricted and help is not available.

Be sure to remember to bring along those items you need for everyday living - hearing aids, false teeth, glasses, contacts, and their storage containers.

The one fashion statement you don’t need to make in the hospital is with jewelry. Hospital staff would prefer that you not bring any at all. Leave the wedding band, earrings, Rolex, and diamond tiara at home.

Draper also says, “There’s no need to even wear your Medic Alert tag. Your medical history will follow you throughout the hospital so you can leave that at home, too.”

We hope you won’t need this information anytime soon but if you do, we also want to send along wishes for a speedy recovery.

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