Your Own Pillow Makes a Sweet Difference in the Hospital


By Kaye Swain

"Oh, Kaye, my back hurts. This pillow is too high," my senior mom said plaintively. She was referring to the hospital pillow she was using while recuperating from her operation. Since I was staying with her during the first few days she would be in the hospital, including overnight, I had brought one of my soft and squooshy pillows to use on the recliner they gave me.

"Here, mom, try this one," I replied, handing her my pillow. I gently lifted her head, swapped out the pillows, and carefully laid her back down.

"Oh, honey," she said, with such a sweet smile on her face. "That feels so much better!"

That taught both of us a new and important "life lesson." When packing a bag for a trip to the hospital, tuck in a comfy pillow or two. It feels better and makes you feel a little less disoriented. I like to put our name and phone number on them, just in case.

And, of course, I always ask permission to use them. We've never been told no, but we haven't ever been in an ICU or other specialized unit, which might have stricter rules.

When you are caring for elderly parents who have to deal with all the difficult issues of surgery and hospitalization, anything you can do to make them more comfortable - physically or emotionally - can be a big help in the healing process. This is especially important in view of some recent news reports that some patients who undergo a major operation, like hip replacement surgery, can have a higher mortality rate during the first year after the surgery.

It seems like such a silly little thing, but my senior mom was thrilled with that comfy pillow along with a second one I brought up for her the next day! She slept better, felt better, and that put a big smile on BOTH our faces.

Kaye Swain is a member of the Sandwich Generation dealing with the issues of caring for the elderly parents and relatives in her family while also babysitting grandchildren. She enjoys writing on those topics at SandwichINK, in order to provide other multigenerational caregivers with useful information, resources and encouragement.


4 Responses

  1. [...] during the first few days she would be in the hospital, including overnight, I had brought [...] Elder Care ABC This entry was posted in In Home Care and tagged Difference, Hospital, Makes, Pillow, Sweet by [...]
  2. After my Dad's surgery we snuck in his <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a>. The nurses didn't say anything, and he, like your mom slept so much better! It helps all of us to take CONTROL of what we can.
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  4. Having the right pillow can make all the difference. A memory foam pillow can take away all pressure points so people who need to stay in bed for long periods of time can really benefit by this feature.
  5. It's true, with nursing homes, short term rehab, and other elderly care facilities small things can make a big difference. So bring your own pillow and other items from home to make the stay more comfortable for your loved ones.
  6. This is so very true! My Father recently went in to hospital for gall stones, not a fun experience. He was rushed to the hospital with my Mom in an ambulance and there was no time to pack anything, and I doubt she would have thought about the pillows anyway. After a couple of days my Dad was complaining to my Mom about not being able to sleep etc. so she decided to bring in his favorite pillow, good decision! He was much happier for those last couple of days in hospital and it made all the difference. You may be right about ICU, I don't think they will let you take your own pillow in.

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