Getting the news that you have to be admitted in the hospital can have one of several effects. Some hate it because they are ill and don’t want to be. Others are glad because they were suspicious that something was wrong—and now that suspicion has been confirmed. Regardless, such news implies a serious health issue, so you don’t have much of a choice about going.
Remember, as with any visit to your doctor it is good bring along a companion who will lend support and remind you to ask the pertinent questions. It is always a good idea to bring a note pad to write down questions you may have before your visit, and to write down answers to during your visit. This way you can review the notes later on and make sure you have a good understanding of your treatment plan. Doctors are busy people but are not so busy that they cannot take the time to answer your questions or address your concerns.
Do I really need to be in the hospital?
It wasn’t too long ago that any surgical procedure required that the patient have an overnight stay in the hospital. That is not the case today; many procedures are done on an outpatient basis. This means you arrive at your appointed time, have your procedure and go home when the procedure is complete.
Insurance companies also play a role in the number of outpatient procedures but they hate to have you in the hospital as much as you hate to be there. So when a doctor says you need to be admitted for a procedure, it is usually necessary.
How long will I have to be in the hospital?
The insurance company will answer this question even more so than the doctor. Most insurers have a set formula for every inpatient procedure. Within the formula is the number of days the patient will have in the hospital pre- and post-surgery. The doctor can ask for more time if they feel it is needed and most insurers will abide by this request. However, it is never a given when asking an insurance company to extend your stay.
Who is in charge of my care?
The simple answer is that the doctor who admits you is in charge of your care during your stay at the hospital. If this is not your primary care doctor, you may want to have a relative or friend notify the doctor’s office to let them know you have been admitted. At this point, the admitting doctor—who may be an emergency room attendant—can hand you over to your primary care physician or the doctor who has been treating your condition. This is a positive development, because your doctor has a better understanding of you and your condition, and may have a treatment plan ready to implement.
Will I be in the hospital over the weekend?
Being admitted over the weekend is not necessarily a bad thing, but it may slow down the treatment process depending on your condition. A serious condition will be treated either way. A milder condition may be treated to maintain the status quo—that is, just to stop it from getting worse. The reason behind this is that nobody works 7 days a week ,including your doctor. Most work between 5 and 6 days and will have another on call doctor to deal with any of their patients in their absence. The on call doctor may not be completely aware of your doctor’s treatment plan and will keep to any regimen already started by your doctor.
How do I Assist in the Discharge Process?
Once your doctor clears you to go home, you should know that you will probably need some extra time at home to recuperate. It is important not to rush back to your normal activities, and instead give your body time to heal. Make sure you or a companion knows what to expect when you arrive home. This can be the difference between a smooth recovery and complications your return to comfort and normalcy. Most doctors will have their nurses give you a follow up call within 24 hours after you arrive home to see how things are going.
What Should I Pack to Bring for the Hospital?
These commonly packed items will be important to making your stay more comfortable:
- Books and magazines/notebooks and pens
- List of phone numbers
- Playing cards and games
- Medication- names, schedule and dosage amounts
For safety reasons do not bring valuables or your smartphone with you.
A stay in the hospital can be a very emotional and trying time for some people. It is good to have someone with you, or a support system to help you through your stay. Hospital stays are only made when absolutely necessary, and adequate preparation can make you feel more comfortable and less stressed.
Here’s a checklist of the most important recommendations:
- Prepare a list of questions of the doctor before the consultation
- Remember What The Doctor Said
- Clarify the Type of Hospitalization
- Check with Your Insurance Company
- Pack Properly for the Hospital (and bring your medications)
- Prepare for Discharge
Do you have additional tips to share with us? Leave them in the comments here below.
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