Essential Items for Caregivers: From Surgery Planning to Homecoming

Essential Items for Caregivers: From Surgery Planning to Homecoming

Having a family member scheduled for surgery can be an anxiety-inducing experience.

From packing essential items to waiting during surgery to ensuring a smooth ride back home, there are many things to consider.

As if that weren't enough, the real work of caregiving begins after the surgery.

It can be overwhelming, but there are ways to ease the stress. Here are some tips and items that could come in handy during this challenging time.

Keep in mind that every situation is different, but these common items may be helpful.

Back to blog

Preparing for Surgery or Extended Hospital Stays: Tips and Items to Bring Along

It's completely normal to feel stressed when a loved one is preparing for surgery or an extended hospital stay. To help ease your anxiety, consider bringing along some essential items, listed below.

At the Hospital

Your Phone Charger

Make sure to take your phone charger, some hospitals have phone charging stations, but sometimes they are broken or not where you are.

At the Hospital

A light sweater

Hospitals tend to be cold. Bring a sweater.

At the Hospital

Your Pills

When your are worried about your loved one, it can be easy to forget your own medication. Make sure you have any medication you might need for the entire day. Sometimes days are longer than you anticipate.

At the Hospital

Family Caregiver Grab and Go Hospital Comfort Bag (Small)

Waiting for your loved one during surgery can be stressful. Make your wait more comfortable with our Family Caregiver Grab and Go Comfort Bag, which comes with snacks, beverages, tissues, cough drops, and more. It's all packed and ready for you to take to the hospital.

Get Your Family Caregiver Grab and Go Comfort Bag Today.

Order Your: Family Caregiver Grab and Go Hospital Comfort Bag (Small)

At the Hospital

Family Caregiver Grab and Go Hospital Comfort Bag (Large)

Choose the Larger Comfort Bag for Longer Hospital Stays.

Consider opting for the larger comfort bag if you anticipate a longer hospital stay or surgery.

Or if you know there will be additional family and friends waiting with you at the hospital.

This option includes extra snacks, as well as a travel mug, to keep you easily by your loved ones side.

Order Your: Family Caregiver Grab and Go Hospital Comfort Bag (Large)

When Your Loved is Released from the Hospital

After surgery or a hospital stay, getting dressed and the car ride home can be challenging.

Here are some items to think about getting ahead of time.


Comfortable Clothing

Loose clothing is helpful for them to get dressed for the ride home. This should be at the hospital with them.


Post Surgery Shirts

Inspired Comforts understands the frustration of not being able to get into regular clothes after a surgery. Or the need to have easy access while going to chemotherapy or dialysis.

Tara purchased a post-surgery shirt for her mother following her open-heart surgery.

This special shirt prevented any unnecessary pulling or stretching that a regular shirt would have caused during the dressing process.

Tara highly recommends this company.

Go to Inspired Comforts website


Post Surgery Bras

Tara looked at a lot of post surgical bras after her Mom's open heart surgery. One of them was from Brilliant Contours.

They specialize in post mastectomy surgery recovery bras.

Due to sizing and her Mom's surgery, Tara and her Mom decided to go with a different bra. 

However Brilliant Contours customer service was outstanding and she would highly recommend them for someone else. 

Go to Brilliant Contours website


Pull Up Pants

Coming home from surgery can be hard.

Getting yoga pants, sweat pants, or any other pants that are soft and easy to pull up is a good idea. No zippers.

Tara doesn't have any specific brands or suggestions for these.


Slip on Shoes

Bending over and tying shoes is lot of work after surgery or after a hospital stay. 

Slip on shoes are a great. 

Or if they insist on tie shoes, plan to help them get their shoes on and possible tie the laces for them.

Home From The Hospital

Your loved one has made it home from the hospital!

Now the caregiving *really* begins.

Here are some common items that are helpful to have.

Remember each situation is unique so some of these items may or may not be needed. Additional items not listed may also be required for your situation.

Make sure to follow any instructions from the hospital or surgery center.

Medical Supplies

Reusable icepack

Most likely they will be sore.

Have 1 or 2 reusable ice packs in the freezer.

Medical Supplies

Digital Read Thermometer

After surgery or severe illness it's common to be asked to monitor someone's temperature.

Medical Supplies

Blood Pressure Cuff

Monitoring blood pressure is  common especially after heart surgery. (But other surgeries may need to be monitored as well)

Medical Supplies

Oxygen Monitoring Devices

Hospital discharge papers should indicated if oxygen monitoring is needed.

There are finger oxygen monitors and some watches like the newer versions of the Apple Watch will monitor oxygen levels.

Medical Supplies


Depending on the surgery, some may require weight to be monitored after surgery

Medical Supplies

Adhesive Remover

If someone is recovering from surgery typically they have had some monitors and wound covers attached to their body.

Which can create lots of adhesive residue.

Some hospitals have quit sending adhesive remover home.

The good news is you can order your own.

Photo by PDI brand, Tara hasn't used this brand but it had good reviews on Amazon.

Beyond Medical Supplies

In addition to medial supplies, here are some extra items that can be helpful to have on hand.

Home Items

Wash Clothes

Getting new washcloths that can be thrown away (or used as rags) after recovery can save their good towels. 

Home Items

Bed Sheets

Having a few sheet sets are a great way to help reduce stress while providing clean linen to the person recovery.

Microfiber sheets are less expensive than cotton and are great for reserving their good linens until they are healthier.

Home Items

Extra Pillows

They might be uncomfortable when they come home. So having extra pillows to support and give them more options is essential.

Home Items

Extra Pillow Cases

Extra pillow cases come in handy when you are trying to get them comfortable with the extra pillows.


For some trying to get your loved to eat can be challenging after surgery. For others, they get their appetite back right away. Here are some foods that are pretty easy to give when coaxing someone to eat.



Even if they don't feel hungry, in Tara's experience fruit seems to be something people are willing to eat.

Pre-cut and serve small amounts is the key. They can always ask for more.  

But if you start with a whole slice of melon they easily feel like it's too much to eat.



Making pudding or getting small individual puddings cups are something easy for them to eat.

If the person is lactose-free (which means they don't eat dairy) you can usually find non-dairy versions as well.


Jell-O / Gelatin

If they aren't vegetarian or vegan mostly likely Jell-O would be good to get. 

Some vegetarians and all vegans won't eat Jell-O or gelatin.



Individual cartons of applesauce is great to have on hand.



Depending on diet there are dairy or non-dairy yogurt varieties available and usually is well received by the person recovering.

A Few Additional Items to Consider

The below items may make recovery just a tad easier.

For Mastectomy or Heart Surgery

Chest Pillow

Tara got this pillow for her Mom after open heart surgery and we have since recommended to multiple people.

It works great in the car for coming home, but then helping them get up from chairs (because they can't use their arms) or when they are coughing.

This is a major recommendation for any chest surgery.

Go To Pink Pepper website

For any chest surgery

Shoulder Seatbelt Pillow

This helps alot for any chest surgery, where the seatbelt might rub. It is also smaller than the pillow above, great for continued/regular use.

Tara's mom had both the pillow above and one similar to this one.

Lots of places sell a seat-belt pillow. Find a size and design that your loved one will smile at.

Tip: when searching put in "seat belt pillow for surgery" and there will be lots of options to chose from.

Photo is from Pink Lily Care company. Tara has not bought from this company.

For Hysterectomy or Abdominal Surgery

Lap Seat Belt Pillow

For surgeries that deal with lower waist, like a hysterectomy a pillow like this can help.

Photo is from D.Cozy company, Tara has not bought anything from this company.

And Finally...

Tara has done a lot of caregiving and knows how stressful it can be. 

She was frustrated with inspirational cards sets as they were never specific to the stress and frustration of caregiving. So she created her own.

Now this Caregiving Support Cards and Journal set, is available for you.

Caregiver Gift

Caregiving Support Cards and Journal Gift Set: Premium version

Caregiving is hard. It's easy to feel overwhelmed and frustrated.

These cards are for you, the caregiver. To help ease your own stress and tension during this time.

Order Caregiving Support Cards and Journal Gift Set