Tips for coping with a long hospital stay

CSC welcomes Robyn Stoller, founder of CancerHawk and tireless patient advocate as a guest blogger. We’re thrilled to be working with her and look forward to additional informative and insightful posts in the coming months.

Let’s face it… staying overnight in a hospital for any reason is not fun…. even if you are in the hospital for a good reason like giving birth to a baby.   And having to stay in a hospital for a LONG period time…. well, that just plain ole’ sucks.  To help cope with a long hospital stay, MD Anderson’s Department of Social Work offers these tips…. p.s. I’ve added a few of my own suggestions as well ;-) :

  • Bring something from your house… a blanket, a pillow, anything that brings you comfort. Most people feel safe and comfortable at home. Bringing a piece of that with you will re-create those feelings of safety and comfort.
  • Display pictures of friends and family. It has been said that smiling is contagious. Try to fill your walls with smiling faces to brighten your day.
  • Try to leave your room at least once per day. Whether it’s a short walk or a trip to another part of the hospital, it’s important to change your scenery.
  • Start a journal. Even if you aren’t a writer, journaling can help with stress relief and allows you to express your emotions in a healthy way.
  • Entertainment.  If possible, bring a laptop or iPad from home.  You can watch movies (hospitals are not known for great television programming), keep up with emails and maybe even some work.  Use Skype or iChat to keep in touch with friends and family members.  Make sure to bring your cell phone and charger too.
  • Music! Bring a portable CD player or iPod with you. Music can reduce stress and promote relaxation. Plus music can help drown out those annoying background noises in a hospital that goes on all day and night.
  • If possible, wear your own clothes (comfortable ones of course) or even your own pajamas & robe. Wearing a hospital gown all day can be both awkward and depressing.  Also check out HugWrapshand-made, fun alternatives to hospital gowns.
  • Bring your own toiletries… what the hospital gives you is mediocre at best.
  • You may want to consider bringing some of your own food.  Most hospitals have a refrigerator and a microwave for patients/caregivers to use.
  •  If you are the parent of a child who has to undergo a long hospital stay, click HEREfor a great checklist put together by Complex Child E-Magazine.

(source:  MD Anderson CancerWise)

About Robyn Stoller

Founder of, Robyn Stoller is a patient advocate and champion. Just last year she lost her 47-year-old husband Alan to cancer, but has put their journey to work for others. At each crossroad—from finding the best doctors with the right mentality to accessing obscure (and amazing!) resources—Robyn's gift for research, networking and tireless advocacy and a lot of luck led to just the right places. Now, Robyn’s mission is to help patients and caregivers touched by cancer find the information they need to make informed choices. To get straightforward answers to the questions you haven't yet asked with a dose of humility and humor, visit…the REAL deal for cancer patients & their caregivers.

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  • Susan

    Great tips!

  • Sierra Nevada Cancer Center

    time I had been in a hospital since giving birth to my
    daughter.I felt so dizzy and unbalanced