Get ready for hospital – have a ‘go bag’ ready

If you get so sick they send you to hospital, you’ll be too ill to get ready.  ‘Prepare for the worst’ by making up a hospital ‘go bag’ with what you’ll need.

Visitors to hospitals are being severely restricted so make sure you have communication options.

Prepare your computer for isolation or quarantine

Because we’re computer geeks we’ll start with the ‘essential’ devices. There’s a follow up with a more general list for a hospital go-bag.

We’re obliged to Rose Vines (the Queen of the Geek Girls) for the idea and her Facebook friends for extra suggestions.

Hospital ready devices

Hospital can be boring. In fact it’s best that you’re bored in hospital because the exciting parts are usually uncomfortable and painful.

  • Phone
  • iPad, tablet or small/cheap laptop
    • A tablet device is better, easier to use and charge.
  • Kindle or ebook reader
  • Charger for Phone/tablet/reader
    • with correct cable ends and long enough.
  • Headphones or earbuds
    • Preferably corded, not wireless.

Sad to say, there are thieves in hospitals.  It’s not a place for expensive devices.  Ideally use older devices or less expensive ones.

Make sure the devices are secure with login password, code or fingerprint access.  If someone steals the device, at least they won’t be able to access your information.


Put your name, phone and email address on each device.  Just a paper label stuck on with tape is enough.

Prepare the phone and tablet

As we’ve said elsewhere, have many different communication options available.  Don’t rely on just one, in case one falls over or the person you want to talk to doesn’t have the right software.

The minimum selection should be:

  • Facetime (Apple devices only)
  • WhatsApp
  • Skype
  • Zoom

All are free.  See Online call services ranked

Setup accounts with each of these. Make a note of how people connect with you on each (WhatsApp is via phone number, Skype and Zoom via email address).

Wifi and mobile data in hospital

Hospitals don’t like Wifi.  It can interfere with medical equipment so wifi isn’t available in many hospitals.  Even if it is available to patients, Internet access can get overloaded.

Have an alternative Internet access (again, prepare other options).

Make sure you have a mobile data plan on your smartphone.  Be aware of the current limit (in GB) and the ‘rollover’ date each month.  Learn how to use tethering (aka Personal Hotspot) to make your smartphone into a little Wifi access point.

If you’re using mobile data (which is usually slower and more expensive) try to use voice only online calls. That greatly reduces the amount of data used.

Don’t forget plain old phone calls!  Usually unlimited in time and cost for domestic calls (check your plan).

Tablet / Smartphone setup

Aside from communication options, get your tablet and smartphone setup to play movies and TV shows.

Preferably downloaded and saved on the device instead of streaming (which needs Internet).

Load up the devices with music that can be played anytime, without an internet connection.

If you don’t already, install entertainment apps like YouTube, music streaming like Spotify.

Headphones or Earbuds

Headphones or earbuds are essential, especially in shared wards.  Preferably with a microphone for calls.

Most wireless headphones/buds use Bluetooth which may or may not be allowed.

Corded – wireless headphones/buds might not be permitted, due to wireless limitations.

Those little earbuds are too easy to lose.  We prefer earbuds connected with a short cable because they can hang around the neck when not needed and the controls are easier to use.

Or just some plain old earphones on a cable that plugs into the phone/tablet.  Old-fashioned but reliable and no recharging required. Dig around in your collection of old tech stuff.

Ebook preparation

Stock up your ereader with easy to read books or favorite titles to re-read.

Hospital isn’t the time to tackle Proust or James Joyce.

Maybe Charles Dickens.  Harry Potter series. Sci-Fi fans can enjoy many of Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s books.  Heinlein’s juvenile novels (Double Star, Time for the Stars etc.)

Write it all down!

If you’re drowsy in hospital, you won’t be thinking straight.  Write all the details of Zoom/Skype etc accounts, mobile data plan. mobile phone number, logins etc.

That’s to remind you or let someone else help you quickly.

‘Put in bag’ list

Most of the devices are ones you use regularly and can’t store in a ‘Go Bag’ ready to pick up and leave.

On top of your ‘Hospital Go Bag’ have a list of last minute items to add before heading out the door.

One for each family member

Make a hospital go bag for each member of the family, including kids.

Maybe make it a little project for children, if the prospect of hospital doesn’t scare them.

What else

That’s all the nerdy stuff. What else should be in a hospital go bag (or not).

We’d love to hear your suggestions.  Especially from nurses .. what things do nurses like patients to bring to admission. And what not to pack.

Continuing with Hospital Go Bag part 2 – the non-techy suggestions.

Prepare your computer for isolation or quarantine

Get ready to Zoom ….

Get ready to Viber

Zoom ‘1 to 1’ calls – making and answering

Turn your smartphone into a webcam – iPhone, iPad or Android