Reducing the stress when your teenager is going into hospital

My eldest child recently had an operation which was supposed to be a day procedure. Unfortunately, after a brief spell at home, he was readmitted via A&E with a nasty infection in the wound. His temperature refused to come down, despite IV antibiotics, and he spent five long days lying on the hospital bed waiting for them to work.

What to take if your teenager is going into hospital

As parents we spent a lot of time entertaining, cheering up and tidying and we realised that although with teen health the needs are different, they still require lots of support when they are ill. What stood out the most was how much time we spent going to and from the hospital getting the things he needed.

So I thought it would be good to create a checklist to save other parents a bit of time and help relieve the stress of having a sick child.

Obviously, it depends on how ill your child is. To begin with, our son was so unwell he just needed company and reassurance. He wanted us to ask the questions and remember the answers for him. As his health improved he became more demanding, which was a joy because it was a sure sign that he was out of the woods!

So here is the final list of all the things we brought to the hospital

Teen health – What do you take if your teenager is going into hospital?


Pre-op/Short stay:

CLEAN slippers – an absolute must. You have to bring slippers that have NEVER been worn outside to reduce the risk of introducing infection.

pyjamas/t-shirts or equivalent


wash bag – toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush


phone and charger



Longer Stay:

laptop and charger (+ logins, wifi password, cables)


small towel (there are some on the wards but, sadly, they are few and far between these days)

lip balm/vasaline

any medications they are taking at present (including contraceptive pill)

tampons/sanitary towels (not supplied by the hospital)

drinks and snacks (as the hospital shop may be very expensive)

money for you to get tea and coffee (or bring a flask as it is not cheap if you are buying yourself drinks several times a day for a few days)

clean pj’s/t-shirts/underwear etc

more wipes

roll-on deodorant


hair clips/bands etc if they have long hair


At the end of each day go home, relax and sleep knowing your child is in safe hands

Hopefully, you will not need this list for too long, but remember to look after yourself. Although it is a worrying time you must make sure you go home at the end of each day (visiting ends around 8 pm unless you have a very young or sick child), relax, eat well and get a good nights sleep knowing they are in safe hands.

Useful Links:

NHS choices

NHS Hospital Admissions 

NHS Staying in hospital as an inpatient

NHS Visiting someone in hospital

How to prepare for your child’s hospital stay – For parents of younger children

Teen Health (girls) – NHS Choices

Teen Health (boys) – NHS Choices

PALS (Patient Advice and Liason Service) – The Patient Advice and Liaison Service offers confidential advice, support and information on health-related matters. They provide a point of contact for patients, their families and their carers.

Personalised Gift Packages

If you are considering a gift for someone in hospital then dontbuyherflowers is a lovely company which specialises in care packages to suit individual needs. These include cancer care, new mum, recovery, man package, gluten-free or an essentials package. They are beautifully presented and definitely make a welcome, personal gift.

What do you buy someone who is in hospital?


What can be treated with antibiotics and why?

Cervical cancer prevention – awareness, screening and the vaccine