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Not all hospital stays begin in the emergency room. Sometimes you have time to prepare for a scheduled hospital stay. But even when you don't have an emergency medical problem, getting ready to go to the hospital may leave you feeling overwhelmed and even a little stressed. By taking steps to prepare for your stay ahead of time, you can get control of some of that stress and save that energy for feeling better as soon as possible.
Before you go into the hospital, fill out an advance care plan. This is a document that states your wishes about end-of-life medical treatment and names a substitute decision-maker, someone you choose who will make medical decisions on your behalf when you're not able to do so.
It's smart to have your advance care plan ready—and to make sure your loved ones know where it is—because in the unlikely event that it is needed, it will be a huge help to your family.
If you are going to have surgery and expect to need a blood transfusion, you may want to bank your own blood a few weeks before the surgery. If you do need a transfusion, doctors can use your own blood.
Many people consider this choice to protect themselves from the risks of disease or mismatched blood that are linked to blood transfusion. Talk to your doctor about your risks.
Check that you have arranged for things to be taken care of while you're gone—like child and pet care, yard care, collecting your mail, and paying your bills.
If possible, ask a relative or other loved one to be your helper, to go with you to the hospital and be with you as much as possible during your stay. This person can keep an eye on you, alert nurses when needed, make sure your questions get answered, and take notes when the doctor visits you.
If you're going in for surgery, follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking.
Fill out and collect all your paperwork, including:
Ask your doctor if you need to bring copies of any lab results or X-rays with you. You probably won't, but it's a good idea to check.
Remember to take personal items you need to use every day, such as:
Taking along items that will help you relax is important. Consider packing one or more of the following:
Health care items
Adaptation Date: 5/7/2021
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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