What to bring to the hospital

Here are some suggestions. For a procedure-specific list, please speak to your doctor or medical provider. We also have a handy surgery patient guide that can help you plan your stay.

Legal documents. During the admission process, you will be asked to provide the hospital with the following legal documents:

  • Driver's license or identification card

  • Insurance cards

  • Copy of power of attorney, living will and/or advance directive (if applicable)

List of medications. Make a complete list of medications and supplements you take that includes the name, dosage and frequency (how often you take it).

Important phone numbers. This helps us contact family and close friends if an emergency arises. Include complete names and phone numbers, including area codes.

Cash and credit cards. A little cash will allow you to purchase something to read or other items from the vending machine or gift shop. Keep money in an inconspicuous place, like a sock or tied bandana. A credit card will be needed for any payments due at the time of service, such as copays.

Comfortable clothing. You may need to wear a heart monitor or have an IV while in the hospital, so loose clothing is best, such as pajamas or loose workout clothes. Bring a few changes of clothes, just in case.

Eyeglasses if you normally wear them. Contact lenses can be a hassle if it is difficult for you to leave your bed, so glasses are usually the better choice.

Cell phone/phone card. Depending on where you are and what type of hospital equipment is being used, cell phones may not be allowed. Check with your nurse. Cell phones are forbidden on some units because they may interfere with electronic patient monitoring equipment. You may want to purchase a phone card so you can use the landline from your room.

Toiletries. Bring your own toothpaste, toothbrush, soap and shampoo from home.

Entertainment. While we strive to make your stay pleasant, we also know that spending a day in bed (even with a TV) can get boring. To keep yourself occupied, you might want to bring:

  • Books or magazines.

  • Crosswords/sudoku.

  • Knitting.

  • A smartphone or tablet, if they are allowed on your unit. Free wireless service is available throughout the hospital. Ask a member of your care team for assistance.

  • A journal to record your thoughts.

  • Headphones or ear buds and a charger.

  • Family photos. During an extended stay, surrounding yourself with photos of loved ones can ease your anxiety and help you stay focused on healing.

  • Eye cover and/or ear plugs. If you find it difficult to sleep when there is an unusual level of light or sound at home, you’ll probably need sleep aids in the hospital.

Our Volunteer Services can also bring magazines, books, games and coloring books to your room. Call 503-814-1792 for more information.


What NOT to bring to the hospital

We encourage you to leave your valuables, such as jewelry, at home. Upon being admitted to the hospital, you can place your valuables in a hospital safe. Salem Health does not accept responsibility for items of value that are kept at your bedside.

No weapons of any kind are allowed. This includes guns, knives, tasers, mace, pepper spray, bear spray, etc. Any items brought to the hospital will be detained at security check points. 

If you lose something, please notify your nurse right away. A report will be filed by staff and given to our security officers. To inquire about lost articles, call 40311 from your hospital phone or 503-814-0311 from other phones.