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What to bring for a nursing home stay blog post skilled nursing rehabilitation long term care

Making your Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) stay as home like and comfortable as possible

Published on Jul 21, 2021

Feeling at home or as comfortable as possible is a crucial part of the healing and recovery process for both short-term and long-term patients of skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). 

Incoming patients are encouraged to bring items that will make them feel comfortable, but there are some personal items and such one should reconsider bringing with them. This blog will provide ideas on what potential patients should consider bringing from home and what to keep home, as well as provide recommendations to ensure each patients’ stay is as comfortable as possible.  

Clothing:
Everyone’s level of comfort is different depending on weather and temperature settings within the center. Patients should consider bringing 5-7 seasonal outfits that include comfortable pants, shirts, blouses, sweaters, or sweatshirts. A good rule of thumb is to bring clothing that can be mixed, matched, and layered so you can adjust your level of comfort whether you get too hot or cold. 

Footwear with non-slip soles is very important. Tennis shoes, socks and slippers should be non-skid as to help reduce chances a patient may fall. Other personal items that would be appropriate to bring are glasses, underwear/undergarments, hearing aids, dentures, and other items for daily living. If you have a cane or walker, special orthotics (braces), or compression socks, you will want to bring those as well.

Bedding & Decorations:
Most private and semi-private rooms come with some standard items. Most include a bed, nightstand, and wardrobe cabinet/closet to hang clothes and store shoes and other items. Also, rooms have a television for patients. Typically, bedding such as sheets, a comforter and pillow are provided by the center. However, if you want to bring a favorite blanket, throw, or pillow, then please do so as it will make the stay more comfortable. Flowers and other items to make your visit as homelike and comfortable as possible are encouraged. 

Other items to consider bringing are family photos, cards and scrapbooks are great mementos for patients to have in their room for them to feel at home. Favorite photos of family members, pets or life events are great motivators for those with the goal of returning home. 

Other items to consider:
Employees at SNFs are caring for patients with a variety of conditions and different levels of cognitive abilities such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately, in caring for so many individuals there is always the chance clothing or personal items could be lost. The following items can make a SNF stay more engaging for patients but know there is certain risk the items may become lost. One way to reduce the risk of losing items to list them on the patient admission form when they arrive at the center. 

Bringing your own smart phone or tablet are great ways to stay connected with loved ones and the world outside the center. Additionally, smart phones and tablets can let you download games, brain teasers, listen to music, follow friends, family and even the center on social media. Smart phones and tablets allow you to use FaceTime or other video chat services to see and communicate with loved ones.  

Consider bringing hobbies from home you enjoy doing. Some great hobbies to continue, or even start, include knitting, crocheting, scrapbooking, puzzles, playing a musical instrument or other activities that bring you joy and are therapeutic. You can also check with the center’s activities department (read our blog on the important role activities play for patients) to get an idea of similar activities that can bring you joy or aid in recovery.  

Favorite books or magazines are also great ways for you to pass the time and have a connection to home. 

Jewelry, items of value, family heirlooms, and money should not be kept in a patient’s room. If needed the center can provide a small lock box for storage of some personal items of value. Employees may be able to assist you or your loved ones in labeling clothing, glasses, dentures, and hearing aids used at home and other personal items.

Every patient and situation are different. Please call the center you are considering for rehabilitation and long-term care services to speak with them about how to prepare for a stay. 

Author: Brandon S. Totten
Community Relations Manager, AMFM Nursing & Rehabilitation Centers