Ask the Expert: What to Pack for a Short-term Rehab Center Stay

Dear Tacy:

We just found out that my dad needs to go to a short-term rehab center once he is discharged from the hospital. We have a lot of questions about this process, but one of our more immediate questions is about the items he should bring with him to rehab. Can you offer any advice on what exactly should we pack?

-Jacob in Dublin, OH

Hi Jacob,

Great question! If your senior loved one will be transitioning from a hospital stay to a Columbus area short-term rehab center, the question about what to pack is a common one. Luckily, your dad will be able to trade those awful hospital gowns for his own pajamas! But he will need more than just comfortable pajamas during his stay. While much of his time will be spent in therapy, he will have some free time.

Here is a list of what to pack when your father moves to a short-term rehabilitation center:

  • Footwear with non-slip soles. Sneakers with a solid grip are a must. Slippers and socks should also be non-skid to help prevent falls.
  • Pack personal care items and toiletries just like you would for vacation. Your senior loved one will need everything from shampoo and conditioner to a blow dryer and toothbrush.
  • Comfortable pajamas that are appropriate for the season and are easy to get on and off are another necessity.
  • Daytime and exercise clothing should be loose fitting and comfortable. Clothing that zips up might be easiest.
  • Feel free to pack some of their favorite family photos and scrapbooks. It can help their room feel warmer and more personal.
  • Bringing a basket with essentials such as their cell phone charger, books, crossword puzzles and pencils can help keep them occupied when they aren’t participating in therapy.
  • You are also free to bring their favorite pillow and a blanket or a throw they like to use at home.
  • A few items NOT to bring include jewelry, watches and large sums of money.
  • Unless the therapists ask you to, it isn’t necessary to bring their cane or walker. Talk to the staff before you arrive to be sure.

If you have any doubts about what to bring or what not to bring, you can call the rehab center ahead of time. The staff will be happy to help answer your questions and help you prepare your dad for a smooth transition. I hope you find this information helpful and good luck to your dad during his rehab!

Tacy Bailey, COTA/L