My Five Long-Term Hospital Stay Essentials

This post contains affiliate links. If you click them, thanks for supporting QLF.

A smiling toddler in a hospital bed

Spending any amount of time in the hospital with a child is pretty tough. Even an outpatient appointment can be hard going but once you’re in there for a while it becomes a challenge to keep both you and your little one settled and comfortable.

We’ve been spending a lot of time in hospitals recently. Being at our local hospital isn’t too bad, it’s 20 minutes from home, people can drop us off stuff at the ward desk and, well it’s not quite home but it’s at home. I recognise the skyline, the staff and the somewhat psycho seagulls.

But most of our time has been spent in hospitals a long way from home. From one hour to two hours, to three hours away from home. In places we’re vaguely familiar with having been there a few times. The hospitals are brand new to us though, places we’ve never been inside of, and it’s definitely worth having a wander around if you get a chance so you know where the shop is, the canteen, etc.

In all the time we’ve spent in the hospital with our toddler we’ve learnt there are a few things that are vital to surviving and making it a little easier for yourself and your kid. Some are obvious, clothes, toys, toiletries…but some you might not think of right away. So here’s five of my hospital essentials.

A Tea Egg

Okay, so the one we use isn’t actually the original jug flask we used to use. That one was actually egg-shaped. However, it had glass inside and if you dropped it nine times out of ten if broke. And we dropped a lot of them. After a while, it made sense to invest in something a little different with a steal inside.

The one we have now holds about four cups of tea and it means you don’t have to keep nipping to get a cup of tea from the carer’s kitchen. Sometimes it’s just impossible to leave your child for anything more than a pee. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a cup of tea ready to go. This is why we started buying them in the first place.

And trust me, you’ll need tea.

Extension Lead & Long Mobile Phone

For the extension cord, it really doesn’t have to be a long one, just a metre will do, but it does need to be a multi-plug one. In hospitals you never know where the plugs are going to be, so a bit of length gives you some wiggle room and you might have a couple of different devices on you and you don’t need to use up too many plugs the staff might need.

Also, get an extra-long mobile phone cord. Two metres at least, then it’s easier to keep using your phone when the battery runs low. It’s a bit of a lifeline when you’re in the hospital, and then it doesn’t matter which side of the bed you’re on and which side of the bed the plugs are on.


Bring your own masks. Don’t rely on a fabric reusable one, because you don’t know when you’ll get a chance to wash it. And don’t rely on the hospital’s supply. They will have masks, they will give you masks, but you never know what type they have, whether they’re comfortable or if they’re the weird ones you have to tie.

You can still get boxes of masks on amazon and ebay. And given that mask rules are relaxed, they’re easier to get hold too.


If you can, I know the cost involved, but consider getting some subscriptions.

I don’t just mean for Netflix or Disney Plus – but for Deliveroo plus too.

Depending on the hospital, there probably are televisions, but streaming gives you more options and more flexibility. It’s pretty much the selling point of it. In the hospital, it’s pretty much a godsend to have the option to watch stuff whenever you can. Like when your kid is sleeping and you suddenly cannot (despite being exhausted). It’s also a good distraction for your kid, who may or may not have the energy or ability to play or even leave the room. There were many days when all Beany could do was lie in bed. She spent the time alternating between sleep and watching films on the kindle fire (I would hook it over the railings).

As for deliveroo plus, consider it. Most hospitals do not feed the parents. It sucks. And to be honest, even if they did, hospital food sucks. You’d think, for a bunch of kids who usually need nutrition assistance, you’d think the food would be better. You will be ordering takeaway food. Most hospitals have microwaves, but no ability to cook a proper meal. So either way, you’re options are limited. Save a bit of money on the delivery fees and at least use the free trial (which is what I did).

Bluetooth Earphones

Not airpods (unless you can afford or really want airpods), but get a cheap pair of Bluetooth headphones or earphones. I have both kinds, one for travelling and another for the night. This means you’re not physically tethered to a device, so you can just get up and go when you need to without taking off headphones or unplugging. I found with the earphones, it meant I could just wear the one, and watch tv lying down in bed. I could get up and go to the kitchen, the bathroom, and the earphones would disconnect and then automatically reconnect when back in range which was handy.

For anyone worried you won’t hear things you need to, trust me, you will be dreaming about the machines. You will hear them at home. In your sleep. On the bus. It’s been a few months and I still think I can hear them. But, the earphones, did mean I could only have one in if needed.

They’re good to have because hospitals are never quiet, and I personally found any noise better than hospital noises. I have slept with earphones in since I was a young teenager, and Bluetooth earphones are a big step up (and safer). I recommend these TOZO earphones and these JVC headphones. Me and my wife both have a pair of the JVC headphones and they’re pretty good and the TOZO ones have too. Fair warning, your children will lose an earphone. Or two…

There’s Always More

There’s definitely more you need on a regular basis. We had clothes and toiletries, nappies and formula, even slippers, that we kept in a shopping trolley that was our go bag.

Hopefully, you won’t need it but this will give you an idea of a few things you’ll need that you hadn’t thought of.

One Reply to “My Five Long-Term Hospital Stay Essentials”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *