If your child uses any medical supplies at all, you know how important it is to keep those items on hand. When your child is in the hospital, you’ll notice that many of the medical supplies that you make last a month or more at home are considered single use there.
A great example is syringes. If your child is tube fed, a nurse may come in with a handful of syringes multiple times a day for your child’s medications. After they push the medicine, they toss the syringe. There is no difference between these syringes and the ones you use at home.
Tell your nurses you are always low on syringes at home. Ask them not to throw them away but to hand them to you. You can keep a little bag or bucket in the room and restock your home supply pretty quickly. You will need to wash them out, but this is no different than what you already do with your home supply.
Take all unused disposable medical or care supplies that are left in your child’s room home with you. As soon as a product enters your child's room, you are charged for them. If you don't take them, hospital infection control dictates that these items be thrown away. So take them home and use them for your child as they were intended!
Obviously, this does not apply to everything. There are some items in the hospital room that are not disposable and will be cleaned, disinfected, and reused. This includes monitors, linens, electronics, etc. If you take these items, it is considered stealing. If you are not sure, just ask. Your nurse can tell you if an item is going to be thrown out or cleaned and they can help set the disposable items aside for you.
My husband likes to tease me by calling me a medical supply hoarder. For some items that are really hard to get, hoarding them when you have a chance pays off when you need them later.
Here is more information on supplies and equipment for children with disabilities.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.