The anticipation of a trip to the hospital is enough to put anyone’s nerves on edge. Making a list and planning ahead for what you need to bring to the hospital can help remove some of the stress and worry.
For seniors with chronic health issues, it is a good idea to have this list on hand, and maybe even a bag ready to go, just in case of an emergency.
What items are recommended for a hospital visit?
There are some things that are mandatory to bring, while other suggested items can just help make your check-in and stay a little smoother and more comfortable.
Some items, like previous health care records and medical documents will be necessary for check-in.
Some of the documents and information you will need, includes:
- Valid photo ID
- Valid government issued health card
- POA (Power of Attorney for Personal Care)
- Living will
- Any other advance health care directives
- Reports or relevant information you have received from your doctor
- Including description of diagnoses
- A list of all medications and supplements you are currently taking
- This includes prescriptions, over the counter meds, vitamin supplements
- Personal health record
- This includes information about:
- Existing health conditions
- Dietary restrictions
- Physical exam or test results
- Immunization records
- Insurance details
- Emergency contact numbers
- This includes information about:
These documents and records are required to get you checked in and ready for your procedure.
A suggested tip would be to keep all these documents in a special folder, box, or drawer at home, so you know where they are at all times.
Now that the mandatory items are taken care of, the next move is to put together a list of things that will make your hospital stay a little more enjoyable and convenient.
Some things you might want to take with you to the hospital, are:
- Smartphone, tablet, or laptop
- Books, crossword puzzles, sudoku, magazines
- Cases and solution for glasses, contact lenses, dentures
- Notebook and pen
- Good for writing down questions you may want to ask the doctor or nurses
- Money (small amount)
- Warm and comfortable clothes
- Comfortable slip-on shoes
- Extra pillow
- Earphones (and ear plugs if you are a light sleeper)
- Soothing scented oils for relaxation
What happens when I arrive at the hospital?
Your bags are all packed, and you have all the items you will need for your stay. Once you arrive at the hospital it will be time to get admitted.
Job one after you get to the hospital will be to get checked in at the admissions desk. This is the stage where you will be required to sign all the necessary forms to allow treatment, and to obtain your permission to provide pertinent information for insurance purposes.
At this time, you will also be asked to provide information about advance directives like POA and wills.
After all the requisite paperwork has been completed, you will be taken to your room to get settled in and meet the nurses, doctors, and other health care professionals that will be seeing to your care.
These health care professionals are there to help guide you through the process and deal with any questions or concerns you may have.
Mentally and physically preparing for surgery or another medical procedure can be upsetting and exhausting. It is important to try your best to relax and stay safe while you are waiting.
Safety Tips for Hospital Stays
Senior patients often feel weak, tired, and disoriented when they are in the hospital for a variety of reasons. Lack of sleep, high stress, and unfamiliar surroundings are a few examples of why patients may feel ill at ease.
Some recommendations for added safety, might be:
- Don’t be afraid to use the call button when you need help
- Keep everything you need within easy reach
- Don’t take any unauthorized prescriptions or medications during your stay
- Use the hand controls to adjust your bed to a comfortable level before getting in or out
- Be careful not to dislodge or trip on any of the wires or tubes around your bed
- Use grab bars or handrails for getting around the halls and bathrooms
- Make sure to arrange transportation home in advance and have your home ready for your return