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Staying in Hospital Tips and Advice

  • Published: 2010-03-31 (Revised/Updated 2010-09-25) : Author: Highmark Inc.
  • Synopsis: Helpful tips and information to make your hospital stay a positive experience.

Top 10 Tips to Make Your Hospital Stay a Positive Experience...

Research shows that patients who take part in decisions about their own health care are more likely to get better faster. As a patient, you can make your hospital stay a better experience by being an active, involved and informed member of your health care team.

Top 10 tips before you go to the hospital

1. Choose a health partner, usually a friend or relative, who will work with you to understand and plan your care.

2. Take care of your personal chores.

3. Arrange transportation.

4. Make a list of all your medications.

5. Make a list of key health information.

6. Prepare a living will. You can check with your doctor, attorney or health insurance company for information on how to complete a living will.

7. Make payment arrangements by learning your share of the cost of services from your health insurance company.

8. Pack your bag.

9. Plan for your return home.

10. Ask questions and learn as much as you can ahead of time about what to expect during your hospital stay.

Top 10 tips during your hospital stay

1. Understand procedures that are being performed on you.

2. Identify yourself often by giving your name and showing your wristband to all staff members.

3. Ask a health partner to stay with you.

4. Help prevent infections by washing your hands frequently.

5. Eat right and drink plenty of fluids.

6. Help prevent medication errors by keeping the list of your medications handy.

7. Ask for help if needed.

8. Keep active.

9. Listen to your body and let your doctor and nurse know how you feel. Follow your health care professional's advice about resuming your usual schedule of activities.

10. Express yourself if something doesn't feel right.

Top 10 tips after your stay or when you are discharged

1. Understand what to do when you get home.

2. Schedule your follow-up appointment.

3. Make a list of all your medications and compare any new medications to the labels of medications that you currently take at home.

4. Talk to your doctor if you feel you're being discharged too soon.

5. Look into at-home services.

6. Identify and arrange for follow-up care at another facility if needed.

7. Arrange for transportation.

8. Make payment arrangements.

9. Fill out any evaluations provided by the hospital.

10. Renew your lifestyle by improving your eating habits, exercising and continuing healthy habits.

A hospital stay can be a stressful time. Unfortunately, most hospital admissions for people with Medicare are unplanned and unpredictable. That's why it is important to be prepared before being admitted to the hospital. These tips and more are available through a "Guide to Hospital Stays" resource available to Highmark Medicare plan members from Highmark. Highmark Medicare members can call the number on the back of their insurance card to learn more.

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