What to take to an inpatient rehab?

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What to take to an inpatient rehab?

There are several things you can take to a rehab like personal clothing and care items for the duration of your stay. Essential documents that you need or that have been requested by the admission staff. Bring light clothing for light exercise and outdoor activities. Make sure you check with your rehab centre what you can and can't not bring with you. 

Focused on the philosophy of "one is never too old to recover," the inpatient rehabilitation facility allows individuals to take a break from life's stresses.  

Many facilities provide several treatment options, a safe, secure, all-inclusive environment that is designed to help residents work through the process of not only alcohol and drug addiction but also physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy sessions.  

The inpatient addiction treatment provides guidance, customised treatment plans with 24-hour care for its residents. 

Additionally, the facility provides registered nurses, licensed clinical social workers with specialised training, substance abuse counsellors, physicians, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, and medical residents.  

So, do you know what to pack when you or your loved ones are going to rehab centres?

It can be challenging to know what you need and what you don't need when you're in the middle of drug addiction or heavy medication.  

Well, it’s essential to make sure you bring the essentials with you before coming in for your rehabilitation stay. Here are some helpful tips. 

Personal hygiene items and beauty products 

The most important thing you can bring to an inpatient recovery centre is personal items.

Although many centres provide all of the necessities you need, it is always best to have your items to provide yourself with the best personal care.  

They’ll provide basic toiletries such as soap, toothbrushes, and toothpaste. But this doesn’t close room for you to carry some. Remember having from home will make you feel comfortable. 

Things to bring to the rehab centre are:  

  • a hairbrush,  
  • deodorant,  
  • face towel,  
  • shower liner,  
  • hand towel toothbrush,  
  • protective eyewear,  
  • face wash,  
  • body wash,  
  • knee brace,  
  • nail file,  
  • nail clippers,  
  • make up for the ladies if it's vital to you, etc.  

You may want to bring many other things with you, but these are the most. You can always avoid strong scented lotions and colognes as some of the patients and staff may have allergic reactions. 

These items may seem very common, but for people coming in from a three-day bender, these things may be harder to come by.

Without these necessities, a person can begin to slip back into old habits and forget about self-hygiene and always double check to ensure you have all that's needed. 

Essential clothing to take to rehab facilities 

It would be best if you planned to pack clothes following centre’s dress code to bring to rehab. Most rehab facilities have a strict dress code; therefore, keep in mind that you pack.  

As you pack, remember to carry only essential clothing and items for the ease of indulging in the therapies. The clothes should be comfortable, soft, and stretchy material is accepted if you're in doubt of anything pack layering options. 

You may not do your laundry for a week or more, so you need to pack accordingly.

But pack easy-to-wash clothes so that if there are laundry facilities, that'll be good to avoid over packing. However, unique clothes that may need dry cleaning aren't necessary. 

Above all, your clothes should be weather-friendly according to the season and enough for the days you'll be in the drug rehab. 

Here is a list of essential clothing items to take to rehab centres:  

  • Shirts 
  • Pants  
  • Shoes (consider bringing two pairs) 
  • Bras (consider bringing two)  
  • Underwear (consider bringing four)  
  • Flip flops for the shower 
  • Undergarments 
  • Socks (consider bringing four) and  
  • A sweater or a lightweight jacket 
  • Pyjamas 
  • Bathing suit 

What financial supplies to take to a residential rehab? 

I would recommend bringing a credit or debit card and perhaps some cash too to make purchases in the facility if needed.  

A credit card, so you can buy anything you need for the week A debit card, in case your credit card is denied cash, and in case you need to buy something in a hurry A check book, in case you need to write a check for a purchase. 

Entering rehab is a tough and challenging time in a person's life. It can be very isolating. It will be good to take a few things with you when seeking addiction treatment to make your time there a little easier.  

Think about any questions you have. Before starting a treatment plan, you might have many questions, so make a list and have someone you trust answer them for you. 

Things to consider bringing to a rehab facility 

  • Make a realistic budget. Inpatient treatment is expensive, so prepare for the worst by saving as much as possible before treatment begins.  
  • Think about what you want to take with you. This may seem like a silly question, but there are many things you'll want to take with you throughout your rehab stay.  

Medical or drug paraphernalia to bring to a treatment centre 

To prepare for your addiction treatment in an inpatient treatment centre is a stressful time, but it can be made much easier with proper preparation. 

Before you leave, discuss any prescription medications you may need while you are away from home with your physician. If you need a list of common medications, let them give you. 

Most centres and health care providers recommend that individuals bring to rehab a minimum of two weeks’ worth of medication for any pre-existing medical conditions. the rehab centres may have some vending machines for dispensing liquid medications. 

Examples of drugs to take to a rehab centre 

Drugs that might be necessary during rehab include pain medications, anti-nausea medications, antidepressants, antipsychotic medications for seizures anti-seizure medications. 

In addition to medications, bring to rehab your insurance information, medications list, prescription medications, medical history, and any other necessary paperwork. 

Not to forget if you use self-help resources like wheelchair, walker, or a cane, remember to carry them to the treatment centre. Also, hearing aids, glasses, splints, dentures, orthotics, and all essential medical equipment you'll need to carry them. 

Essential documents to bring to the treatment centres 

It is imperative to take the necessary documents to an inpatient treatment facility. You may need to provide medical records, prescriptions, or any other documentation you will want to have.  

If you are self-motivated, you may want to print copies of what you need before visiting. However, you should not bring private records with you because of medical privacy laws.

You may provide a written release to the hospital or treatment centre permitting them to release specified information to authorized individuals.  

Other documents to take to the addiction centre are the list of your prescriptions, your driver's license, your insurance card, your passport or green card, or any other important document you have. 

Specific treatment centre may want personal social security number and date of birth · Photo identification for each family member, proof of residence address, person's parental rights and responsibilities, among others. 


Leisure/ outdoor / entertainment items 

The best way to keep your mind off the stresses of an inpatient treatment facility is to have a few leisure items on hand! There are many options for leisure items, so there is sure to be one for everyone.  

Board games  

A fun game to play even with friends or loved ones is a board game! There are many different games to choose from.  


A fun puzzle with friends or family members is a jigsaw puzzle. They are perfect for busy days when you don't have much time for other things. 

Outdoor activities 

A visit to a treatment centre could be a challenging and emotional time. The sense of being a patient instead of a caretaker can be complex. You might want to bring a little taste of home to make your stay a little easier.  

Reading materials:  

Popular choices include magazines, old favourites you enjoy, and books that remind you of home or your hobbies.  


You can never have too many tissues! Tissues also come in handy when you're feeling down and need a small pick-me-up activity.  

Teddy Bears: 

A teddy bear fills the emptiness and loneliness. The gentle touch and warm, cuddly body can provide comfort and remind of caring and love.  

Gift cards:  

If you have any to remind you of the love from friends and family.  

It can also be helpful to have some out-of-the-box ideas when packing for rehab. 

Some more great outdoor items to take with you to the program are: 

  • A backpack for hiking, camping, or everyday use.  
  • A longboard for skateboarding, or if you are recovering from an injury. 
  • A lightweight hammock for relaxing. 
  • A soft cooler for picnics by the lake or in a swimming pool. 
  • Daypack for all your day trips. 
  • Outdoor games like lawn darts, croquet, or soccer balls. 

However, ensure that the facility accepts them. It's good to adhere to the general rule of the rehab.  

Prohibited items in a rehab centre 

While a drug treatment provider is designed to provide the best care possible for their patients, many patients don't know that there are some prohibited items they can't bring with them.

Usually, these items are for protection for themselves or the patient, but it is always best to check with the centre directly before bringing them in.  

The drug rehab is committed to helping the individual heal mentally and physically. For this reason, some centres have strict rules and certain items are not allowed.

If an individual is found with any of the following items, they may face disciplinary action or termination from the rehab centres. 

Many everyday items like weapons, drugs, knives, and other sharp objects are prohibited. Cameras, laptops, and anything that contains metal like a wedding ring may be restricted or prohibited.

These items are usually prohibited because they could be life-threatening for the patient or the staff.  

Pills, any narcotic, illegal drug like marijuana, tobacco products, electronic cigarettes, alcohol, and alcohol products such as nail polish remover are prohibited.

Also, electronic devices like a cell phone, drink, or snacks are not approved for consumption.  

Prohibited items in the leisure category 

And surprisingly, some of the listed items in the leisure category, mostly playing cards, games, and sporting equipment, are prohibited by some facilities.

The reason is to decrease distractions for concentration and enhance recovery. Nonetheless, some of the treatment centres will provide them at scheduled times. 

Outside food and drinks are forbidden because there is a level of caffeine and sugar to be upheld.

So, three meals are served in a day together with snacks. You may have to seek assistance from the rehab facility for any more dietary needs. 

Some rehabs permit these items while others do not. 

It is challenging to pick the perfect treatment program for an addicted individual.

Different people have different needs and different preferences, and most treatment centres are varied in their provisions. Some people like to drink their coffee or tea with honey, almond milk, or oatmeal all the time.

Others will enjoy a glass of orange juice or cranberry juice occasionally like on special occasions, others not. While some rehabs may allow these items, others do not allow even a cell phone. 

Different substances may be allowed by a specific treatment program. Some rehabs may allow you bring cigarettes and alcohol, while others prohibit all tobacco products and forbid alcohol consumption.

Some will allow dark chocolate, some will allow blueberries, and others will allow nothing. 

Some will allow over-the-counter medications and vitamins, cell phones and laptops with internet access, nail clippers, cameras, MP3 players, gum, disposable razors, facial wipes, etc. 

So, if your facility allows electronics, remember to carry your power cords! 


Leaving the house and going to a service for help for alcohol is a significant step in the recovery process. Many recovering addicts and alcoholics start their journey at an addiction centre. 

Most rehab centres serve as a safe environment where patients can focus on their recovery and get the help and guidance they need without any distractions. 

There are many different rehab programs, but an inpatient program is usually where the person gets to live in a residential or hospital setting all day.

This type of rehab is usually recommended for people who are not confident in staying sober on their own.

The person also has access to a medical team, medical care, social workers, counsellors, therapists, programs, recovery coaches, recovery support groups, and NA or AA meetings. 

So, before you leave for a rehab facility, it's a good idea to take a moment to think about while packing for rehab, whether this is a short-term stay in a rehab centre or an intensive residential rehabilitation programme. 

Abbeycare Pricing Bot

About the author

Laura Morris

Laura Morris is an experienced clinical practitioner and CQC Registered Manager with over twenty years experience, over ten of which have been as an Independent Nurse Prescriber.

She has held a number of senior leadership roles in the substance use and mental health sector in the NHS, the prison service and in leading social enterprises in the field.

Last Updated: October 31, 2023