What Karen Miller Packed For Her Ostomy Surgery Hospital Stay

Publish date:

If you’re fortunate enough to schedule your ostomy surgery like I did, then you’ll have the luxury of packing items of your choice. Planning ahead made my time in the hospital more comfortable and less stressful.

Here’s a list of things that I was glad I brought (or wished I’d remembered):

Legal stuff:

  • Identification
  • Insurance Card
  • Advance Directive
  • List of medications (name, dosage, frequency)
  • List of telephone numbers of family, friends, ostomy nurse

Tip: put all these essentials together in a secure folder to avoid the risk of losing them.


  • Slippers
  • Extra Underwear
  • Comfortable clothing (pajamas or loose clothes)
  • Short-sleeved shirts are best for any intravenous (IV) lines you may need
  • One pair of regular shoes, in case you're allowed to walk outside (shoes without laces are easiest to put on)
  • Socks
  • Glasses, if you wear them

Tip: loose waist pants are best for the ride home.


  • Soap and shampoo are provided by the hospital, but your own trusted products can make you feel more comfortable
  • Toothbrush/Toothpaste
  • Lotion, but avoid perfumes and any highly scented products
  • Razor, if you use one
  • Comb / Hair Brush / Hair ties, clips and barrettes
  • Deodorant
  • Lip balm

Tip: pack the things you will use most in one toiletry bag, so it’s always handy.

Ostomy Supplies:

Coming straight out of surgery, the surgeon will have put on an appliance provided by the hospital. It’s usually a one piece with a clear pouch. If you have an allergy to that brand, talk to your ostomy nurse about providing other options from a different manufacturer. If you don’t have any allergies, it might be easier to use the hospital pouching system during your stay, and then try other brands when you’re at home.


  • Things to help you stay positive – pictures of your loved ones, encouraging quotes
  • Books to read. There are several inspirational books written by ostomates
  • Writing paper and pen, for making notes or questions you want to ask your doctor or ostomy nurse
  • Earplugs/eyeshades – sleeping well and taking naps can help your recovery

Tip: check the hospital's policy about electronic items before packing your laptop, tablet, portable DVD player, MP-3, or cell phone.

I Don't Suggest Bringing:

Large sums of money, jewelry and high-end electronics can also be a target for theft. If you decide to bring them, make sure that a relative or friend takes them home or that they can be put in safekeeping when you're sleeping or not in your room.

Karin Miller

Karin Miller

Connect with Karin at Newbie Ostomy