Tips to Improve Your Hospital Stay
Most of the time a hospital stay is unplanned and can be very stressful physically, mentally, and emotionally. There are many ways to improve your time in the hospital, and if your stay is a planned one for an upcoming surgery for example, then there are definitely a few things you can do to help yourself become more prepared. With these important tips, you can be mentally and emotionally ready for your stay, thus reducing stress and anxiety and maybe even the opportunity to recover at an even faster rate.
Don't wait until the day of your surgery to ask the burning questions that you truly need answered. Be prepared. Be informed. If you are scheduled for surgery and have questions that were not answered by the doctor, then call the doctor's office back. You don't want to get an answer you don't like immediately before the procedure and then have to make a quick decision. Gather the information that you need in advance of your surgery so that you know you have made the right decision before you go to the hospital. Surgeries are canceled all the time because the patient wasn’t prepared or didn’t follow preoperative instructions. Make sure you are fully informed.
If you need to and are able to, take care of all financial obligations prior to your hospitalization. If your bills are due at the time of hospitalization, paying them beforehand can take much stress off you and lead to less worry. Make the important phone calls to your insurance company. Ask questions beforehand about your procedure and the costs so you know what you are getting into. Make arrangements with your employer about taking time off and if you are able to utilize paid time off.
Know your options before going home so you can plan accordingly. If your insurance allows and it is needed, inpatient rehab can be very beneficial to many especially if you need orthopedic care, amputation care, or comprehensive recovery from surgery. If you plan to go straight home from the hospital, you may need to arrange for help at home. There are services such as home health and hospice that your hospital case manager can assist you with setting up. If you have the family support, then arrange for them to assist you at home for the time needed. Making these arrangements well in advance if you are able to do so will ease your mind of knowing you have the help that you need when you need it.
Make a list of the things that must be accomplished during your hospitalization. Do your pets need to be fed? Can your children carpool with friends? Are there plenty of groceries in the house before you return? Do you have clothes clean for your return? Keep in mind, there is the possibility of have lifting restrictions for some time after hospitalization and therefore, ordinary tasks might become a little more complicated.
It may be hard to do beforehand not knowing the length of your hospital stay, but have a plan for who may be able to transport you home. You may be able to drive yourself to the hospital, but most of the time it is best to have someone else drive you home. Keep your driver posted throughout the hospital stay of your expected date and time of release.
Bring an accurate and updated medication list with you. Even better, bring the actual medication bottles. Nothing leaves you more vulnerable to hospital errors than to have your doctor give you medication you haven’t taken in months or for you to miss medications that haven’t been updated in years.
Bring entertainment. If you are in the hospital, the most important thing you need to focus on is rest and recovery until you are well enough to go home. With that being said, there are many hours in the day that can leave you feeling bored and restless. Utilize this time to catch up on the news, read a book, listen to music, work on puzzles, finish your knitting. Be careful of the activities you choose because you want to keep them stress free and relaxing. It’s probably not the best time to balance your checkbook and catch up on work. Don’t forget to bring your PHONE CHARGER! It’s one of the most forgotten and needed items.
If you are going to be in the hospital, you may as well be comfortable. Bring your favorite pajamas and bath robe, your pillow and blanket. Hospital gowns are very revealing so it will be nice to have some full coverage. Bring your toiletries for bathing and your slippers for taking a stroll down the hall if you are able to. It’s probably best to leave large sums of money and valuables at home.
Have your people with you. You may not want them there at all times, but before and after a surgery and when speaking to doctors having an advocate there for you can help in a number of ways. They can make sure you are comfortable, ask questions to the doctors you forgot to ask, help you make decisions about treatment and speaking for you if you aren't able to speak for yourself.
Ask to see the hospital’s version of your medication list once it has been typed into the EMR (or handwritten into your paper chart), then proofread it carefully and make the necessary corrections. This will increase your chances of getting the right medications at the right dose and time.
During your hospital stay, write things down. You may have questions for the doctors. Usually doctors only come to see you once a day. How many times have we let the doctors come in and we completely forget all the questions we had been wanting to ask? Prior to the doctor coming in, the nurse may be able to answer the majority of your questions. Ask any unanswered questions and never leave still wondering. If you don’t understand, ask again. Medicine is complicated and doctors sometimes forget you haven’t studied it. Write down things to help the doctors. Sometimes you may be asked to assist with writing down times and amounts of intake and output.
Be patient. Your doctors and nurses are not uncaring because they don’t do things exactly as you wish or respond to your every need or request with immediacy. There are many patients in the hospital, some sicker than others. There is no protocol for making everyone happy. They will try their hardest, but remember to be patient. If there truly is a problem, you have resources to report such problems.
Be nice. Be nice to your doctors and nurses. They are working their hardest to care for you and they understand you are sick and in pain, but try to be nice. You don’t want it passed through the nurse report that you are the patient no one wants to have. <img src="http://forms.aweber.com/form/displays.htm?id=jJwMzOwMbIwMDA==" alt="" />
Know that it’s ok to make visitors leave. You may feel you are being rude, but you are not. You are in the hospital to get well, and rest and relaxation are always an important component to that. If you don’t like to be the mean guy, then have your nurse place a sign on your door that states no visitors or have he/she only allow a short time frame of visiting. While some visitors may be there to be supportive and loving, there are many who don’t know when to leave. If you are a visitor yourself, always be quiet and calm and ask the nurse and patient if visiting if allowed and/or wanted. You never want to make the patient feel as if they have to entertain you.
Avoid stress. Stress increases pain. Whatever stresses you the most, just avoid it at this time. If visitors stress you out, make them leave. If getting updates about how your children are doing helps you feel relaxed, arrange for a family member to do so frequently. Sometimes just turning off the cell phone can help, while for others it is a stress reliever. Bottom of Form