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My Perspective: Make ER Trips Bearable with a Caregiver Comfort Kit

Posted on October 23, 2016
Article written by
Tiffany Gustafson

I have been a family caregiver for five years now. It first started back in 2011 when my mom began to get sick, but it became a day-to-day role early in 2013.

It was then that I found myself rushing to the hospital with my mom in sheer panic. There were many unexpected overnight stays, and some of those turned into weeks.

You never know what to expect. Will we be admitted? Can we get in and out tonight? However, after many trips, dead batteries, the loud growling stomach, and lots of waiting around, I created my own survival kit.

I created this kit and kept it in the car at all times so I could at least feel like I was in control of SOMETHING.

Oral hygiene
You will feel so much better when you can brush your teeth with a toothbrush you picked out, your own flavor of toothpaste along with mouthwash. The comfort that it is something you picked out and not what the nurses handed you is invigorating.

Deodorant
You may not have time to shower but at least you can freshen up. I like to bring one with some sent so it gives me a little extra fresh feeling.

Face wipes
Personally I like Burt’s Bee’s and the Say YES brand. It is up to you. There are plenty to choose from and can also help wake up a sleep face.

Mini brush and mirror
A great way to make you feel a little more presentable as doctors and nurses come in and out of the room.

Phone charger
I can’t tell you how many times my phone went dead and I was unable to get ahold of clients. I purchased an extra one just for this kit so I can always be contacted and make contact.

Reading materials
Keep an extra book or magazine in your car. This way you have something to thumb through during those long hours of waiting. A Kindle or iPad and charger is always a good grab if you can remember. Having something of that nature will give you plenty of options if you begin to get bored or can’t sleep and can also be entertaining and calming for the loved on you are caring for.

Blanket and small pillow
I keep a light blanket and small pillow in my car at all times.

Snacks
I found protein bars and nuts to be the easiest, healthiest, and most filling snacks to have on hand in these types of situations.

Clothes
I actually never thought of this until I was writing this blog. But there were many times I sat in the hospital wondering if I would be able to make a quick trip home. A clean set of lightweight clothes would be easy to transport.

I placed all of these items in a small bag, and it made hospital runs slightly less terrible.

If you have any tips or suggestions, feel free to comment below. It’s always nice to hear from fellow caregivers.

My Perspective articles discuss Alzheimer's disease and dementia from a specific point of view. We understand that everyone with the condition or caring for someone with the condition has a different experience. We aim to share as many of those viewpoints as we can. We’d love to hear from you. Please submit your proposal for editorial consideration to editors@myhealthteams.com. My Perspective articles don’t reflect the opinions of MyHealthTeams staff, medical experts, partners, advertisers, or sponsors.

All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.
Tiffany Gustafson is a member of myALZteam and the primary caregiver to her father who has Alzheimer’s. Learn more about her here.

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