Go Bag List : Preparing For The Unexpected

The Benefit Of A Hospital Go Bag

Have you ever had unexpected trips to hospital / the emergency department before? Maybe you know what it’s like to be caught off guard. Life gets thrown into disarray, best laid plans go out the window, and you’re left feeling totally unprepared. When you need to rush off to A&E, where do you start?

I’ve had numerous A&E trips now. At first, I resisted putting together a ‘go’ bag because it felt like I was tempting fate. Now I know better.

Here are a few thoughts on putting something together that can help you feel more confident and prepared just in case such a situation arises. If it doesn’t, that’s brilliant. If it does, at least this may save you a little time and stress on the day.

★ ★ ★

Hospital Go Bag List & Tips

  1. Get a spare bag you can comfortably keep to one side that’s large enough to fit essentials and any change of clothes. I have an old backpack that I keep on top of my wardrobe.
  2. Pop in a toothbrush holder or ziplock bag. Either one is practical and will serve as a reminder. If you have a spare toothbrush/paste to keep in there, that’s even better.
  3. Pop in a toiletries bag. If you have any sample products to hand that you can put aside, such as a travel shampoo, body wash or body lotion, add those. Wet wipes (for hands/face/body) and hand sanitisers are a lifesaver in hospital, so definitely get those in if you can.
  4. 2 x carrier bags. Plastic shopping bags are great for putting in a change of undies and clothes, and separating them from used clothes in the hospital. Having a spare often comes in handy; last time I was in, I was given various stoma bags so I put all of these in my spare carrier to take home.
  5. Copies of any letters from your GP/surgeon/specialist that may come in usual at the emergency department. I have one from my surgeon to indicate the problems I have with my stoma and what needs to be done when I get to A&E (ie. he states use of a catheter and IV morphine). This can take a weight off your mind that staff will get straight to what’s important when you get there.
  6. If you have a lengthy history of procedures and specialists, it can help to bullet point some key dates (ie of procedures), where you had them done & who your specialists are, as the doctors may need to contact them.
  7. Jot down the contact details for your next of kin / emergency contacts, as you’re likely to be asked for those. It’ll save time trying to find numbers on your phone when you get there.
  8. Write out a list of things to take so that you don’t forget anything. Consider the following:
  • Any medications / inhalers / medical aids
  • Undies / change of clothes
  • Phone, charger, headphones, MP3 player (the latter can be priceless when you need comforting & calming in the emergency department or on the ward)
  • Pen & a small notebook
  • Hairbrush
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Loose change in a small coin purse (avoid taking all cards & cash or expensive valuables)
  • Mints / gum
  • Medical cards / ID if required
  • Snacks (especially useful if you have specific dietary needs; I’ve taken small packs of plain biscuits and crisps before which have been useful in the days after I’ve been admitted when hospital food hasn’t been suitable)

A Go Bag For The Unexpected

It’s also worth letting a close friend, relative or partner know where you keep this bag on the off chance that you’re caught out needing to go to A&E from another location, rather than directly from home as they might need to collect your belongings for you.

Having a few things together so that you can throw in the essentials quickly can save a lot of time and effort when in pain and ill and needing to get to the hospital. I find having a list incredibly important to speed up the process and ensure you don’t forget anything, giving you some reassurance and peace of mind at what can otherwise be a very stressful time.

Do you have a ‘go’ bag? How do you prepare for the unprepared where hospital / emergency room trips are concerned?

Caz  ♥



  1. Ashley
    April 3, 2019 / 3:24 pm

    Great suggestions! I don’t have a go bag, but I have a shoebox where I keep all the basics for an overnight trip. It comes in especially handy when my memory is bad.

    • April 19, 2019 / 9:49 pm

      That’s a good idea, and a shoebox doesn’t take up too much room so it’s useful to have just in case and as you say, it’s useful when your memory isn’t as hot! Thanks, Ashley x

  2. April 3, 2019 / 3:31 pm

    This is a great suggestion. I’ve never considered that (well, when I was pregnant I had one).

    • April 6, 2019 / 4:34 pm

      Definitely handy for when pregnant I would imagine! =]

  3. April 3, 2019 / 3:32 pm

    very good and helpful information. bless you!

    • April 6, 2019 / 4:33 pm

      Aw I’m glad you thought so, thanks Wendi! =]

  4. April 3, 2019 / 3:32 pm

    A terrific list. Honestly, it’s something I have never done, but completelyunderstand the value in having these items in one place should an emergency arise!

    • April 6, 2019 / 4:33 pm

      Hopefully it’s not something you’d feel the need to do, so I appreciate this post doesn’t apply to everyone (perhaps a small minority of people reading this) but if it helps, that’s great! Cheers for the comment, John – Have a good weekend =]

  5. April 3, 2019 / 3:33 pm

    Wow, that’s a lot of work to make sure things go well. I remember doing this when I was pregnant. It sure makes it easy when it’s time to go.

    Have a fabulous day. ♥

    • April 6, 2019 / 4:31 pm

      A really good point about a pregnancy go bag, which I’m sure is a hugely useful thing to have on hand for mum’s-to-be when impatient babies decide they need to arrive at the drop of a hat! Have a good weekend, Sandee 🙂 xx

  6. April 3, 2019 / 3:45 pm

    Yes making a Go bag is the best thing I have done for those wonderful visits…smh
    Great List! Thank you for sharing

    • April 6, 2019 / 4:28 pm

      Glad you’ve found having a go bag useful too. Anything to make the delightful trips slightly less awful! Thanks for the comment, Grace – I hope you’re having a restful weekend 🙂

  7. April 3, 2019 / 5:15 pm

    Great post which many will find helpful. I’m sure we’d all like not to have a Go bag, but if it makes an emergency less stressful then there’s definite value in being prepared. Thank you Caz <3

    • April 6, 2019 / 4:21 pm

      You’re right, we’d rather not have to do it or ever use it but it could help make things a little less stressful if the need ever does arise. Thanks, Karen 🙂

  8. April 3, 2019 / 5:43 pm

    Great post, Caz. I’ve only been admitted unexpectedly once a couple of years ago when I had pancreatitis due to my gallbladder. My husband had to come home and hunt for everything I needed. Since then, I have a bag at the bottom of my wardrobe with a few essentials. (He’d probably never find it lol)

    • April 6, 2019 / 4:20 pm

      A good point, that it can be hard for loved ones to find things on our behalf, too, not just the stress & time it takes us in a mad dash out of the house. I think it’s very sensible you keep a bag ready now for that just-in-case occasion. Might be an idea to let your hubby know where it is 😉
      Thanks for the comment lovely! Have a restful weekend xx

      • April 7, 2019 / 7:43 pm

        Oh, I’ve told him. He just doesn’t listen lol.

        • April 7, 2019 / 7:50 pm

          Let’s hope that bag isn’t needed otherwise he’ll have to listen to you say ‘I told you so’!!

    • April 6, 2019 / 4:18 pm

      It’s worth keeping in mind if it’s something that may come in handy. Thanks for stopping by – Have a lovely weekend 🙂

  9. April 3, 2019 / 8:03 pm

    This is a wonderful idea, Caz, and your list of items to include is a great one. As you know, when you. have to go to the ER (or A&E), the last thing you want to have to do is stop and round up everything you need. As someone who was on the other side recently, finding the items your loved one needs is sometimes more difficult than you’d think. Things are never exactly where you think they’ll be, and it can be difficult to locate things such as insurance cards, etc. Thanks for sharing this — it definitely gives us something to think about.

    • April 6, 2019 / 4:17 pm

      A good point about how it can be quite tricky as a loved one trying to find these things, too. I know a few times I’ve had to try to remember where I’ve put things for my mother to find them and bring them into the hospital. I’m really glad you liked the post and thank you so much for that perspective, Terri, you’ve made an excellent point!
      Have a lovely weekend 🙂

  10. April 3, 2019 / 8:10 pm

    Caz, this is excellent! I had an Evacuation Bag set up when I used to live in CA due to the fire dangers. During the CampFire, I was so grateful for that bag because I had about 15 min to evacuate. Plus, a hospital bag is so important, too, as one never knows, especially people who can become disabled when they have a medical crisis, such as myself. So important! Thank you (smiles)!

    • April 6, 2019 / 4:08 pm

      Yikes, 15 mins to evacuate, that must have been terrifying. You’re right, being prepared for the likes of emergencies (natural disasters and hospitals alike) is so important. Thanks for the fab comment, Nika! xx

  11. April 3, 2019 / 9:49 pm

    you allude to a good point – it’s a fine line between being prepared vs inviting catastrophe… perhaps a good way to see it is a s a sort of ‘murphy’s law,’ where when one plans for something, it’s less likely to happen? wishing you never to have to use your bag, dear Caz

    • April 5, 2019 / 5:17 pm

      Exactly, and hope for the best. A bit like carrying an umbrella to keep the rain away 😉
      Thanks for the great comment, I like that perspective on it.xx

  12. April 3, 2019 / 10:02 pm

    Great ideas, Caz and, unfortunately, needed by many.
    Being prepared is a great motto in anybody’s language. Just recently I was inspired to get all my important documents tidied, copied and the originals placed within a ‘you beaut’ folder for easy access, and evacuation – should that need ever arise. Like you, I see it as a realistic measure, and now feel quite prepared for any occasion.

    • April 5, 2019 / 5:17 pm

      A ‘you beaut’ folder, what a great name for it! I think going through all your documents & paperwork can be quite cathartic, and it’s very handy to have it all organised so you’re prepared for anything. Thanks for sharing, Carolyn! xx

      • April 7, 2019 / 9:42 pm

        Hahah… ‘You beaut’ is Aussie slang, Caz., for something new or zany!
        It is a great description of almost anything from a good race horse to a fabulous new cosmetic bag… 🙂

        • April 7, 2019 / 9:53 pm

          We sometimes say it in the UK, but it still makes me laugh. I love it! xx

  13. April 3, 2019 / 10:24 pm

    Great list and it is best to be prepared . It is quite possible to forget a lot of things in a panic state.

    • April 5, 2019 / 4:43 pm

      Totally agree, it’s easy to forget when you’re calm let alone panicked & poorly! Thanks, Nisha. xx

  14. April 3, 2019 / 11:01 pm

    If we would keep emergancy supplies for home for a potential natural disaster such as water and extra food, flashlight, ect, then why would someone w a chronic illness neglect to do the same? Neither is tempting fate but understanding the potential for disaster and being ready to handle it.

    • April 5, 2019 / 4:40 pm

      That’s a very good comparison & interesting point about emergency supplies at home. Thanks for mentioning that, Faith, it’s a good way of looking at it! Have a lovely weekend 🙂

  15. April 4, 2019 / 3:39 am

    This is a wise idea with a great list of necessities for the stay. As you mention, this helps alleviate some stress on the day such a bag is needed.

    • April 5, 2019 / 4:37 pm

      Exactly, hopefully it can help a few others, too. Thanks for the comment – Happy Friday! 🙂

  16. April 4, 2019 / 1:20 pm

    This is such a great idea!! I need to do this.

    • April 5, 2019 / 3:44 pm

      I’m glad you agree – it definitely made me feel a little less stressed & panicked when I needed to go in suddenly, so a little peace of mind & saving a little time and energy if the occasion arises make it worth having something prepared. Thanks for the comment 🙂

  17. April 4, 2019 / 5:55 pm

    An excellent resource for an unexpected hospital trip. Having a bad like this already done can really save time and energy in the rush to get to the hospital!

    • April 5, 2019 / 3:43 pm

      Even if it just saves a little time & energy, it’s got to be worth it. Thanks for the comment – I hope the weekend is a good one for you 🙂

  18. April 4, 2019 / 8:58 pm

    Great List! Thank you for sharing!❤️

  19. April 6, 2019 / 3:10 pm

    This is fantastic advice, always prepare for the unexpected; so great of you to share it 😊 x

    • April 6, 2019 / 4:38 pm

      I’m glad you liked it, thanks for the lovely comment! xx

  20. April 6, 2019 / 3:24 pm

    Such a good idea, although I’ve never managed to go from home to the ER – I’m always out and about when my body decides to have a meltdown. Would still be great to have a bag packed and ready for a friend/loved one to grab and bring to the hospital for me, though. Rather than asking them to throw a bag together…knowing my boyfriend, could end up with a duffel bag purely full of socks and candy.

    • April 6, 2019 / 5:16 pm

      I’m sorry you’ve been out and about when you’ve had to rush into hospital, that must be awful. A bag with a list (and maybe directions as to where to find the stuff!) could be a great idea to help your boyfriend navigate things should it happen again. Just make sure he still includes candy, that’s just as important to pack 😉
      Thank you for sharing this, Saorza, it’s much appreciated.xx

  21. April 6, 2019 / 3:32 pm

    This is excellent advice! Thank you for making a list, I find that very helpful. xo

    • April 6, 2019 / 5:17 pm

      Aw I’m so glad you found it helpful, thanks very much for letting me know, Kymber! 🙂

    • April 7, 2019 / 1:31 pm

      Aw thank you so much – that swan is beautiful 🙂
      I hope you are having a lovely weekend, Antonio!

  22. April 7, 2019 / 5:42 am

    caring, helpful
    to responsibly
    prepare 🙂

    • April 7, 2019 / 1:31 pm

      ‘Responsibly prepare’, I like that. Thanks for the lovely comment =]

  23. April 8, 2019 / 10:52 am

    Something I’ve never even thought of! What a great idea to create a list like this for not only others but also yourself to refer back to.

    I’ve created several lists over the years for trips away from home, parties etc. but this is just as important.

    • April 8, 2019 / 3:21 pm

      Lists are so damn handy, aren’t they? Having them for going out or going away is definitely useful, saves a little stressing & ensures you (hopefully) don’t forget anything! Thanks for the comment =]

  24. April 10, 2019 / 7:52 am

    Hi Caz, I’ve missed you, I’m trying to return from no man’s land. My reader isn’t showing me your post. Hmmm? I have to figure out how to get email notifications, they aren’t coming through either. 😕 Just saw where I can check a box when I post to get posts by email, hope it works!!
    I have a small emergency kit I keep with me all the time, but I admit it needs to be updated. I have my med list, dr info, emergency contact, explanation of what is happening to me during a vertigo.attack, throw up bags, washcloth, instant ice pack, emergency meds…I think that’s all. I always have water with me.
    I don’t have a Go To bag, I’m lucky I don’t real go to the emergency room often, when I do, hubby always takes care of that stuff. I know, I’m an extremely lucky woman to always have someone in my corner.

    Please don’t worry about me, I’m okay. I’m losing a friend due to illness and I’m having a bit of a hard time, My depression is more situational than mental, but I cant talk about it on my blog since she reads it. Thank you for caring. xoxo 💕Wendy

    • April 19, 2019 / 9:56 pm

      I can’t believe I’ve only just spotted this again as the comment got lost behind others; I wish there were an easier way to organise them in your WP area so you can see what you need to reply to. Grr. I’m not sure what’s gone on there with WordPress not showing you my posts either… maybe it’s a sign, the universe saying you need to read less drivel! 😉 Have the email notifications worked?
      Your emergency kit sounds like a great idea. The issue with certain things is the updating, I agree. I kept snacks in mine but realised when I last went in that the cereal bar was out of date, oops! So anything that’s dated, including meds, needs to be checked. Other than that, having your emergency contact info & an explanation of your vertigo attacks etc are so important. I’m glad you have hubby for emergencies – I’d say you’re both lucky to have each other. How are you doing at the moment? I do worry about you, so please know I’m always here if you want to vent at all, just drop me a message. Thanks for the fantastic comment. Sending hugs your way xxxx

  25. April 11, 2019 / 7:33 am

    You’re one of the most awesome people I’ve been lucky enough to come across❤️
    Love light and glitter

    • April 19, 2019 / 9:57 pm

      My first response was: You need to meet some better people! BUT – I’m trying to learn to take a compliment, so thank you very much. That’s incredibly kind, I don’t know what to say. THANK YOU. You’re a beautiful soul, Eliza.xx

  26. April 14, 2019 / 9:46 pm

    Charlee: “Our mama and dada have a little ‘go’ package prepared.”
    Chaplin: “Yep, it’s full of stuff for us, and absolutely nothing for them.”
    Charlee: “That’s about right, isn’t it?”

    • April 19, 2019 / 9:59 pm

      Chaplin: “Absolutely, all ours ours ours. Mama and dada might even have put us in some treats because we’re cute”.
      Charlee: “Good kitties get sweets. And we’re always good. We should get lots of treats!”

  27. April 19, 2019 / 11:08 pm

    Wow! I shared this with our FB group! And is it alright if i reblog? I would like to use this as a guest post on my main blog, next week if that’s OK? Let me know and I’ll remember to check the box below! This really was phenomenal! 💜

    • April 20, 2019 / 12:06 am

      Aw I’m so glad you liked it, and of course it’s okay – I’d be honoured if you shared/reblogged it. I hope it can help others or at least give people something to think about and consider whether it may be a useful thing to do. Thanks, Kim! 🙂

      • April 23, 2019 / 1:01 am

        Groovy! You’ll be my guest post on Wednesday! Yay! Thanks, my friend!

        • April 23, 2019 / 1:04 am

          Friday!!! On Friday. May 1 I have to post Fibro Info. It’s fibromyalgia Awareness month! You’ll be on my blog, Fridaythe 3rd! 😎

          • April 23, 2019 / 5:49 am

            Aw that’s very kind of you, thanks lovely! Yes I spotted it was Fibro month in May so I’m definitely joining that too, but I could find very little else about it (usually you have loads of info come up from Mr Google, websites dedicated to the awareness month etc). Last year it seemed to be an awareness day, so things get a bit confusing. xx

  28. April 23, 2019 / 9:55 am

    Yes, May 12 is officially national Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. And May is also Fibromyalgia Awareness month and shares the month with a few other chronic conditions…. so you are right, there is a day AND a month!

    • April 24, 2019 / 3:52 pm

      Thanks for the confirmation, C.C Rockerfeller! 😉

      • April 24, 2019 / 6:07 pm

        At you service! C.C. Out!

  29. June 16, 2019 / 5:00 am

    I hate that you would have to have one of these but it is a good idea since you never know when you have to hurry up and get to the hospital. I have stomach issues and can’t eat certain foods but before I even know what was going on I started getting really sharp pains in my stomach. I had to go the emergency room a handful of times before I really pinned down the foods I needed to stay away from. Now I’m much better but it was an experience I wish I never went through which was brought on by stress. My stomach will most likely never be the same again though.

    • June 17, 2019 / 4:43 pm

      I’m sorry you’ve had your own trips to the emergency room so you know how awful it is. I’m glad you were able to pinpoint the foods that caused problems, but I’m sorry your stomach has been affected long-term from what you’ve been through. Do you find it challenging with eating now, or are you able to manage okay with avoiding certain foods and trying to keep stress levels lower? Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Alice.xx

      • June 17, 2019 / 5:33 pm

        I’m able to manage it but when I went Keto, I found out that I had to add coconut flour and almond flour to the list of things i can’t eat. But on the bright side, the list is small.

        • June 18, 2019 / 4:02 pm

          It’s difficult figuring what you can/can’t tolerate, and the trial and error part isn’t fun. I’m glad the list is relatively small though and that you usually manage it okay  ♥

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