Preparing for a Hospital Stay

If you have an upcoming hospital admission, it can be helpful to spend some time preparing. There are tasks that you can engage in before you admission to help boost your sense of control and comfort during your stay.

The Iris Clinical Care Team’s Top 8 Tips to Help You Prepare for a Hospital Stay

  • Talk with your medical team prior to your stay. Ask any questions regarding the hospital and its inpatient admission policy. No question is too small. For example, wondering whether you can bring a pillow from home or have a friend come visit are relevant to your quality of life throughout a hospital stay.

  • Check your coverage with your insurance plan. It can be helpful to contact your insurance company to alert them of your hospital admission and to find out about your coverage and benefits. In some instances, insurance companies require “prior approval” to ensure that the hospital admission is eligible for payment. When you contact your insurance company, ask to be assigned an advocate/resource, such as a nurse case manager, who can help answer questions about your health insurance plan and benefits.

  • Tend to logistical tasks. Once you know your hospital admission date, start to plan for who will care for your family members and/or pets, tend to your plants, or anything else that you may need assistance with while away from home. Also, think about how you will get to and from the hospital. If you need to ask others for support, start having those conversations sooner rather than later to give yourself time to plan.

  • Find out if you have a pre-admission checklist. It is important to consider if there is anything you need to do before your admission to help ensure a safe and timely discharge from the hospital. In some cases, you may be asked to watch your diet or order medical equipment before being admitted to the hospital. Be sure to check with your medical team regarding any special instructions prior to your hospital admission.

  • Identify an emergency contact. Prior to being admitted, it is important to identify someone whom you trust with your medical information and who is accessible to serve as a point of contact in the event of an emergency. You may be asked upon admission for this information, so bring the person’s name and contact information to share with the hospital. Be sure to talk with this person and ask for their permission before you are admitted to the hospital.

  • Talk with your medical team about relevant legal documentation. If you have documentation that outlines your medical decision-making preferences, such as an advance directive or a health care proxy, it would be useful to make those available to your health care team during your hospital stay. Your Iris care team can assist you in completing an advance directive if you do not yet have one.

  • Bring comfort items. Ask yourself what brings you comfort and a sense of security within your life. Whether it is a framed photo of a loved one or your favorite blanket, make a list of items that are comforting to you and consider bringing some of these with you to the hospital. Ask your medical team if you are unsure whether certain items are permitted in the hospital. Consider leaving personal valuable items at home as there may not be a place to safely store these items at the hospital.

  • Consider caregiver needs. If you can have a loved one planning to stay overnight with you, talk with them ahead of time so that they feel prepared and comfortable with the upcoming stay as well. Share their questions with your medical team. For example, they may wonder about what food/dining options are available to them or how long they can stay overnight.