8 Important Things You Should Do Before Going To Hospital

05 October 2017

If you've never been to hospital before it can be a pretty daunting experience. Knowing what to do and what to expect before you go (and what happens after) can help to allay some of the anxiety. That's why we've compiled a list of 8 important things to do to be prepared for your admission.

1. Call your insurer to learn what you can do to minimise out-of-pocket expenses

To avoid nasty surprises once you get to the hospital, or afterwards, you'll need to speak with your insurer, your doctors and the hospital. Get in touch with your private health insurer directly as soon as you learn you may need to go to hospital, they'll be able to let you the hospital excess you'll need to pay, check your procedure will be covered and provide advice on how you can reduce out-of-pocket expenses. It's also important to ask your specialists and the hospital for an outline of their fees in writing so you can understand what expenses you may be up for. There may be alternatives which could cost you less and you can discuss this with your specialist and your health insurer.

2. Prepare for your procedure

Always check with your doctor as to whether there are preparations specific to your procedure. For example, you may need to fast from midnight the night before or only eat or drink specific things. Some more general preparations you can make are:

  • Ensure you get a good night's sleep the night before
  • Abstain from drinking any alcohol in the days leading up to your procedure
  • Wear loose fitting clothing on the day of your admission
  • Organise your transport in advance, preferably with a friend or family member.

3. Know what to bring with you to hospital

Be prepared for your hospital admission by ensuring you have everything you need with you when you arrive. Before you leave home, remember to bring:

  • Your Medicare card
  • Things you use every day, like glasses or dentures
  • Anything relevant to your treatment. E.g. x-rays, scans, referrals, blood tests
  • Your private health insurance details including your health fund card
  • Some entertainments options, as there can be a lot of waiting around before you're admitted e.g. books, magazines, mobile devices – it's worth checking if the hospital limits access to digital devices within certain areas.

4. Have a backup plan in place

It's always a good idea to have a backup plan in place, just in case something doesn't go quite as it should. For example, who would feed your pets if you had to stay in hospital an extra night or two? You could organise for a neighbour or a friend to come over and feed your dog or cat, so that you know they're taken care of. You also might like to consider pre-arranging a medical certificate for your time off work.

5. Pack for an overnight stay

If you're staying in hospital overnight – or longer – you'll need to pack a few extra things to take with you. Here's a list of a few things you should consider packing:

  • Toothbrush and other toiletries
  • Loose fitting/comfortable clothes including footwear
  • Any medication that you take on a day-to-day basis. It's always best to ask your doctor or specialist whether your regular medication will potentially interfere with your hospital procedure and subsequent medication

6. Know what to expect from your recovery

Speak to your doctor or specialist about: your expected recovery time, when you can go back to work, and whether there are things you should or shouldn't do. For example, you may be restricted in what you can eat both before and after surgery. Also, the intervals and volume of medication you should be taking, if required. By having this written down you'll have something to refer to once you come home.

7. Prepare your home for when you return

When you first arrive home from your treatment you'll probably be tired and possibly immobilized. So preparing for your return before you leave is crucial. Some things to prepare might be:

  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next few days
  • Extra comfort. This might involve having extra cushions in your bedroom or loungeroom
  • Easy access to high-use items. For example, you might like to put a jug of water beside the bed, to move the TV remote next to the couch, or put a phone charger within reach
  • Arrange for some leisure activities. Whether it's a few magazines, a crossword book, or some movies, you're likely to have some free time on your hands. So to stave off the boredom, it's good to have some home entertainment options.

8. Organise a lift home

Regardless of whether you're staying in hospital overnight, or your treatment is a day procedure: if you're having any form of surgery or invasive treatment, you should organise for a family member or friend to come and collect you from the hospital. You may still be under the influence of medication several hours after your treatment and be in no state to drive yourself home. You'll need to provide the hospital with your lift's contact phone number, so they can call them when you're ready to be collected.

Ensure your policy is up-to-date and your premiums are all paid up by reviewing your private health insurance cover, so that there are no unexpected surprises when you get to hospital.

If you have any questions you can get in touch with a Suncorp Health Insurance specialist by calling 13 11 55 (Mon-Fri 8am-8pm & Sat 9am-1pm AEST/AEDT).

This health insurance is issued by nib health funds limited ABN 83 000 124 381 (nib) a registered private health insurer and is arranged by Suncorp Insurance Ventures Pty Ltd ABN 53 158 182 042 (SIV) as an authorised agent of nib, for which SIV receives commission.

Information is intended to be of a general nature only and any advice has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, financial situation or needs. You should make your own enquiries, consider whether advice is appropriate for you and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or Product Information Document before making any decisions about whether to acquire a product.

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