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Hospital Stays: What You Need to Know

Rerun image Planning for a stay in the hospital is not always an easy thing. What should you bring? What shouldn't you bring? It's hard to know how to prepare. Listed below are some things that will help make your hospital stay a bit more comfortable.

Things to Bring

To make you feel more comfortable while in the hospital, bring the following items:

Things to Leave at Home

There are things you don't need in the hospital. Bringing some items may even cause you to worry about their safety. These include:

Checking In

Many hospitals will mail you information in advance of your stay. Read the information and fill out any forms before you leave home. It will give you more time to think about your answers and save you time when you get to admissions.

When you arrive at the hospital, your first stop is admissions. Here, you or a family member will need to complete other forms allowing the hospital to provide treatment, and release medical information to your insurance company. The admissions staff will tell you where to go next.

If you have any questions about your upcoming visit, call the hospital ahead of time to get the answers you need.

Safety Tips

Once you are in the hospital room, you will need to exercise more caution when moving around. Here are some tips to help you prevent accidents:

If you have any questions about your care, don't hesitate to ask your doctor or nurse. If you don't understand something or are confused about your care, don't be afraid to speak up. You have a say in your care and it is important that you understand what is happening and why. You may want to have a notepad by your bed so that you can write down questions as you think of them. Get a copy of your discharge instructions from the doctor or nurse.

Make arrangements in advance for a ride to take you home once you are released from the hospital. It's likely you will need to have someone drive you home after a hospital stay due to the effects of surgery and medications.

Being prepared ahead of time will help you make the transition to a hospital room easier.


Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

American Hospital Association


Health Canada

Ontario Hospital Association


Going to the hospital. Dorset County Hospital. NHS Trust Foundation website. Available at: 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: Published June 25, 2010. Accessed April 26, 2016.

Patient safety. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: Updated December 2013. Accessed April 26, 2016.

Your hospital stay. Covenant Health System website. Available at: Accessed April 26, 2016.

Last reviewed April 2016 by Michael Woods, MD  Last Updated: 6/4/2014