If you know a hospital stay is coming up, do some advance planning so your stay there and return home will be as stress-free as possible.
WHN TIP – Make It Easier: Download our What to Take to the Hospital Checklist
Before You Leave
Gather the information the hospital may need. Even if it’s an out-patient visit, there will be questions to answer and forms to complete.
- Your Medical History Data Sheet that lists your allergies, health conditions and medications. (Tips at 4 Areas To Cover in Your Medical History Data Sheet.) Download the free My Personal Medication Record pdf from the AARP in English or Spanish. Complete one form for each family member, and update as needed.)
- Your family’s medical history to provide the doctor will important background information. (Read 3 FAQs About Creating a Family Medical History and download the My Family Health Portrait from the Surgeon General’s Office.)
- All OTC and prescription medications that you take regularly.
- Your driver’s license or other photo I.D., insurance, Medicare or Medicaid card(s). Check your insurance policy or talk to your agent about co-pays.
- A list of any symptoms or health problems you’re having, along with copies of any diagnostic reports, tests, and surgical reports.
- Contact information for any other healthcare providers you are seeing.
Coordinate assistance during your stay, when you are leaving and once you’re home.
- Will you need someone to drive you to and from the hospital?
- If you’re having a procedure, is someone available to stay with you and take notes?
- When you return home, will you need assistance in the house? Will you be able to drive?
WHN Expert TIP – Visit Centers Now: “If you’re having hip surgery and you know you have to stay in a rehab facility for a few weeks after your hospital stay, you may want to go visit those rehab centers (before your surgery) to make a good, informed choice about what your care is going to look like after you’ve had your acute care stay in a hospital.” Judy Pechacek, R.N., M.S., and vice president of Patient Care at Fairview Southdale
If you’re staying overnight or longer, ask what items you should or shouldn’t bring.
- Will cell phones be allowed in your room?
- Can you wear your own PJs or is it strictly hospital-issue?
WHN TIP – No Baubles, Bangles or Beads, Please! Leave your jewelry at home since it may need to be removed for any procedures, and that ups the chances it could be lost.
For more tips for before, during and after, read Going to the Hospital.