Managing an unexpected hospital stay

Get up, get dressed, get active, return home – great tips from Nelson Marlborough Nurse Educator.

Getting patients out of bed, dressed in their own clothes and walking, helps them feel stronger, recover more quickly and they are less likely to fall.

To help this happen we encourage the family of patients aged 50 or older coming in to hospital, either planned or by ambulance from home or aged care residences, to bring in suitable clothing and well-fitting shoes.   

Research now shows that well-fitting shoes or sandals (or even bare feet) are more effective than the anti-slip bed socks. With suitable clothing and shoes patients can get up, get dressed, get active and are less likely to fall.

After consultation with nursing staff, clinical leads, the Consumer Advisory Council, patients, whānau and St John the Nelson Marlborough DHB falls steering group has developed a Managing an unexpected hospital stay brochure.  This lets whānau know what they should bring in to hospital.

Families are encouraged to help their loved one feel better, more independent and mobile by bringing in a change of clothes, well-fitting walking shoes, sandals or slippers (which are easy to put on) and also to support them to get up, get dressed and, with support, back walking.

What to pack: advice for whānau

  • Light fitting clothes for a couple of days and a bag for laundry (plus someone to do the laundry).
  • Good fitting shoes, sandals, or slippers to help avoid a fall.
  • Daily toiletries, moisturiser and lip balm to protect skin and lips. Glasses, hearing aids (and the case) with spare batteries.
  • Pack all medicines in a container and include health aids: CPAP, inhalers, walking aids. Yellow medicine card if current.
  • Keep jewellery and valuables at home (wedding ring or pounamu are okay). Small amount of cash only. The hospital does not accept responsibility for their security.
  • Cell phone and charger to stay in touch. Ear buds or headphones in consideration of other patients.
  • Reading material, iPad, tablet, laptop and charger.

For more information see the NMDHB website:


Margie Burt
Surgical Nurse Educator, Nelson Hospital

027 837 3635 /7606

About Linda Nicolson

Linda Nicolson
Linda is the General Manager of Eldernet and Care Publications.

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