This Mom Is Sharing Her Best Hacks For People Living in Hospitals With Sick Family Members

When Whitney Sutton's 5-year-old was diagnosed with leukemia and admitted to UNC Children's Hospital in March, the mom of two had no idea how long she and her husband would be in the hospital with Ellie Grace. A week into her family's unexpected long-term stay, Whitney had to get creative in order to get sleep, keep organized, and transport things to and from the hospital with ease so that the rest of her time could be focused on Ellie's care. She shared the hacks in videos posted to her TikTok account, @elliegracestrong, so that other parents and family members who may be in the hospital with a loved one could benefit from her learnings.

Keep scrolling to watch some of Whitney's videos to learn more, and if you'd like to help the Sutton family, visit Ellie Grace's Amazon wishlist and the #EllieStrong GoFundMe page.

Hospital Hack: Use Command Hooks to Keep Belongings Organized

Whitney says "Command hooks are the best," and uses them to hang up the family's face masks, shower towels, and toiletry bags.

Hospital Hack: Use a Sleeping Pad to Make Pull Out Couches More Comfortable

Whitney and her husband weren't getting the best sleep on the pull out couch in Ellie's room, that is, until they added Therm-a-Rest Sleeping Pads on top of the couch cushions. Whitney says the pads, which are typically used for camping, were worth every penny from REI.

Hospital Hack: Use a Sleeping Mask to Drown Out Light

Being in a hospital means getting inconsistent sleep due to personnel coming in for patient checks, as well as the various lights and noises from machines and the hallway. Whitney's husband purchased sleep masks, specifically the REI Co-op Lightweight Eye Mask, which has padding inside to elevate the mask off your face and allow your eyes to move underneath. It also comes with ear plugs!

Hospital Hack: Transport Belongings From the Car to Your Room in Rolling Luggage

Because parking at a big hospital can mean your car ends up parked a long way from the building, the Suttons have been using rolling suitcases so that they can more easily transport their things on the long walks from the garage to Ellie's room.

Hospital Hack: Rolling Coolers For Drinks and Food

Another rolling item the Suttons swear by is their cooler, which they keep frozen water bottles and ice packs in, plus whatever other food and drink items they want to keep fresh and cool.

Hospital Hack: Keep Your Belongings Attached to a Lanyard

Whitney uses a lanyard to keep track of all of her essentials like her ID badge, car keys, wallet, and glasses. That way, all she has to grab before leaving the room is her lanyard and phone.

Hospital Hack: Put Important Care Information on the Door

"Sleep is one of the most important medicines we have," Whitney said in the beginning of this video, which shares that the family uses blackout curtains for the room's glass door to keep hallway light out. They also taped a sign over the room's door knob that says "[Patient] resting, please see RN before entering," to ensure no one disturbs Ellie's sleep unless necessary. Another sign lives in the middle of the door and addresses consent. It reads, "Important Care Reminders: please tell me what you are doing before you touch me."

Hospital Hack: Reusable Bags Are the Best Laundry Bags

When it comes to laundry, the Suttons throw dirty clothes into plastic reusable shopping bags. While everything's in the washer, Whitney wipes the bags down with sanitizing wipes, then puts all of the clean clothes back in them to tote it all up to the room.