Visits to the hospital can often be mired in pain, misery, boredom, and anxiety. It’s hard to feel in control when you’re that vulnerable. But you can plan, which will give you a say in how you spend your time.
Nobody anticipates being hospitalized, but it happens, and to plan, you need information, which is why Turner Law has made a list of eight things to consider ahead of a hospital visit. Print this list out and keep it posted somewhere accessible if you are unable to retrieve it ahead of hospital admission, someone you trust can easily find it.
Some items may seem obvious, but if you don’t have this basic information you can do very little, and your anxiety may spike. So even if you think a question is stupid, try to answer the question yourself and, if you can’t do it in one sentence, get a professional to clearly explain the answer to you:
Find out your primary doctor’s name and the names of the specialists he or she will consult for your treatment.
Write down your diagnosis. Make sure that know the correct spelling of every condition or affected body part.
Ask what your prognosis is based on your response to treatment.
Get the name of the hospital social worker. He or she will help with insurance payments and billing issues.
Ask about complications from medicines you were taking before your hospital stay might have if they interact with medications from your hospitalization. Ask a professional to record these reactions on your discharge instructions.
Ask for multiple copies of discharge instructions, or at least a way of obtaining another copy of discharge instructions if you lose them. Make sure you run through all of the instructions with your caretaker (e.g. is there a special way to wrap a bandage) before you leave the hospital in front of nurse staff.
Ask about any special equipment that will help with your recovery, and get a recommendation from a nurse about a place to purchase it.
Ask a friend or family member to buy a paper calendar so you can record follow-up appointments. Sync up iCalendar or Google Calendar with your new paper calendar so you don’t lose track of any appointments.