A Checklist for Safe and Successful Inpatient Hospital Stays

Posted by Karen Good, July 3, 2018

No one exactly enjoys a stay in the hospital, whether for surgery or some other treatment, but at least you know you’ll be in the most capable hands. Soon the ordeal will be over, and you will be back in your comfortable home. In the meantime, a little planning for your hospital stay can go a long way toward a safer and more successful visit. Use this checklist to plan, while following your doctor’s instructions precisely.

Recruit help. Plan for someone to drive you to and from the hospital, and to stay with you for a few days after you get home. This can be one person or several helpers.

Stay in touch with your doctor. Ask about your regular medications, and whether they need to be adjusted before your procedure. If you develop a rash, fever, or illness, notify your doctor immediately.

Don’t eat or drink. You will be instructed to abstain from eating or drinking, for a specific time period before your procedure. Following these instructions can protect you from complications.

Prepare. You will probably want to bathe before leaving for the hospital. At this time, remove all makeup and nail polish. Wear loose, comfortable clothing, and take out contact lenses if you wear them. Place your contact lenses in a case labeled with your name.

Pack. Pack medications if your doctor has instructed you to bring them. Remember to bring items necessary to your daily functioning, like glasses, contact lenses, or hearing aids. You can also pack comfort items, such as a robe, slippers, and reading materials. Remember your insurance cards!

Don’t bother packing these items. Don’t wear jewelry, or bring credit cards or large amounts of cash. These items can easily be lost in the hospital. If you smoke, don’t bother bringing cigarettes; all hospitals ban smoking, and it will impair your healing process, anyway.

Prepare your Advance Directive. If you haven’t already prepared an Advance Directive with your attorney, take the time to do so. Bring it with you or file with your physician (and the hospital) ahead of your procedure date.

Checking into the hospital for a surgery or treatment can be stressful, but remember: You’re in capable, well-trained hands. Follow all of your doctor’s instructions carefully, and soon your hospital stay will be a distant memory.

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