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Hospital Stays: What You Need to Know
Things to Bring
- Nightclothes, including slippers and a loose-fitting robe.
- Comfortable clothes to wear home when you are discharged.
- Toiletries—such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, shampoo, comb, deodorant, and razor.
- A list of all the medications you take, including dosages and frequency. Be sure to include any over-the-counter medications as well. If you are taking a very specific or uncommon medication, it may be good to bring the medication with you and show it to the staff. Do not take it though unless specifically given to you by your nurse.
- Details of past illnesses, surgeries, test results, and any allergies.
- Health insurance card and identification card.
- Address book or list of names and phone numbers of people to reach in case of an emergency (if they are not on your cell phone).
- A small amount of cash for newspapers, magazines, or gift shop items.
- Reading glasses, books, magazines.
- Cell phone, tablet, electronic or audio book, or MP3 player. Be careful about where you leave them so they don't get lost or stolen.
Things to Leave at Home
- Large amounts of cash, credit cards, and checkbook
- Electric razors, hair dryers, and curling irons
- Any food
- Use the call bell when you need help.
- Use the controls to lower the bed before getting in or out. Always move slowly.
- Be careful not to trip over the wires and tubes that may be near your bed.
- Try to keep things within easy reach.
- Don't take any medications, including over-the-counter medications, unless instructed to do so.
- Be careful getting in and out of the bath or shower. Use the grab bar for support.
- Use handrails in hallways and stairways.
- Use any assisted devices, such as a walker, crutches, or a wheelchair as instructed or if you need to.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality http://www.ahrq.gov
American Hospital Association http://www.aha.org
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Ontario Hospital Association http://www.oha.com
Going to the hospital. Dorset County Hospital. NHS Trust Foundation website. Available at: http://www.dchft.nhs.uk/patients/easyread/EasyReadGoingIntoHospital.pdf. Accessed June 4, 2014.
Kirchheimer S. Hospital-bound? how to protect yourself: 6 tips to reduce medical mistakes. American Association of Retired Persons website. Available at: http://www.aarp.org/health/doctors-hospitals/info-06-2010/hospital-bound%5Fhowtoprotectyourself.html. Published June 25, 2010. Accessed June 4, 2014.
Patient safety. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00684. Updated December 2013. Accessed June 4, 2014.
Your hospital stay. Covenant Health System website. Available at: http://www.covenanthealth.org/For-Patients/Your-Hospital-Stay.aspx. Accessed June 4, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 06/2014
- Update Date: 06/04/2014