Being admitted to the hospital is stressful. To help relieve some of the anxiety, I share in this post a checklist of twelve things that I found helpful when I was admitted to the hospital in the past. I hope this list helps you or a family member when one finds themselves in the hospital.
- Wipes: Yes, wipes. Rationale: Even though your room will be cleaned by the housekeeping team, using wipes to clean things during your stay will keep things clean and is a good way to prevent hospital-acquired infections. Areas to wipe down include the bedside table, the phone, the TV remote, the bedrails and door handles.
- Bring a family member, a friend or hire a personal advocate to be with you during your stay. Rationale: Most people do fine on their own when they are a patient in the hospital, but for complex situations having an advocate with you, gives you a second set of ears to help you understand what is going on and helps ensure your voice is heard and your goals are recognized.
- A pen and a notebook. Rationale: Have a pen and notebook handy, allows you and your advocate take notes when talking to doctors, nurses and other members of your team. During your stay, you will be getting a lot of information from many people. Writing things down is a good idea, so it will help you remember who said what. Make sure you put the date/time and the name of the person you are talking to so you can have a history of conversations. Jot down notes as to what is being said so you can recall the information.
- Bring your Smart Phone or other devices. Rationale: Having your phone or other devices will give you something to do while you are waiting or alone in your room. You can listen to music, check in on your social media sites or play a game to keep you occupied. Don’t forget earbuds or headphones so you can listen to what you want without disturbing others. Last, bring your charging cord so you can recharge as needed.
- A picture of you and your family: Rationale: Help the staff to get to know you. Hospitals are impersonal, having a photo of you and your family allows your healthcare team to get to know who YOU are. Having a photo of you and your family makes things more personal.
- Many people like to bring their pillow. Rationale: Sleeping can be hard in the hospital. Having your pillow may help you be more comfortable.
- Bring your toiletries. Rationale: Most of us have our routine and our products. Bring what you like to use, so you are comfortable.
- Bring a bathrobe, slippers, and socks. Rationale: These will keep you warm if you have to leave your room and have something on your feet.
- Bring a list of your doctors and their phone numbers especially if you are in a hospital or seeing a new doctor. Also, bring your insurance card and a list of any medications, supplements or vitamins you are taking. Rationale: It is essential to share information on other members of your team who need to know what is happening to you, so they are informed.
- Relevant papers: If you have a Living Will, Advanced Directives or other information that you want to share with your team. Also, bring your phone book in case you want to call someone. Rationale: Usually the hospital will want this information on file, so bringing it with you is a good idea so they can scan the information into your record.
- Large Zip-Lock bags. Rationale: Having these bags is a place you can put your dirty laundry or things you want to send home or dispose of.
- If you have a serious or chronic disease and want to stay in touch with friends or family, think about setting up a Caring Bridge Account. Having a Caring Bridge account allows you to invite people to join your Caring Bridge Page and get updates on your plan of care. Rationale: it is hard for the caregiver to repeat the same information over and over. Caring Bridge allows you keep in touch. Also, people can lend support to you and your family by writing notes. Click here to access the website to learn more.
I hope this checklist helps, you a family member or friend to be a prepared, informed and active person when you enter the complex world of healthcare. If you have a tip that helped you, please feel free to post it in the message box below, and I will add to a future post. Thanks
Have a good week!