Hospital Trips Seem Intimidating
Even if you’re not the patient
A trip to the hospital can seem intimidating, even if you’re not the patient. When you’re unsure what’s happening to your loved one—or what will happen next—you may feel helpless or confused. But you are not powerless. Informed, engaged families and visitors can play a big part in the healing process. You know how to make the person you love feel safe, comfortable and well informed. And you can do that best when you know what’s going on.
Hospital Visit Checklist
Make your loved one’s hospital stay calm and comfortable.
Here are some simple ways to do that:
- Go to doctor visits before the hospital stay.
- Ask questions and take notes. Patients who are newly diagnosed with cancer, for example, tend to remember less than half of what the cancer doctor tells them, one study suggests. The worse the prognosis, the less they remember.
- The doctor may also be more attentive to your loved one’s needs when you’re there to show support.
- Prepare a checklist for the hospital stay.
- Ask your loved one what they will need, and offer to pack it for them.
- Make sure to consult What to Bring/What NOT to Bring and advise your loved one accordingly.
- Plan a route to the hospital to arrive at the hospital on time or early.
- Bring an iPod with headphones so you can play your loved one’s patient’s favorite songs. Music can calm nerves and promote healing.
- Pack small, uplifting personal items to decorate the room, such as photographs or children’s drawings.
- Ask your loved one to help you draw up a list of approved visitors. Stick to the list to ensure your loved one doesn’t feel overwhelmed or caught off guard.
- Discuss the discharge plan. Ask:
- Who will take the patient home after surgery?
- Who will help at home?
- What are the children’s after-school schedules?
- Who will prepare meals, clean the house, wash the clothes?
- Talking through everything in advance will give everyone peace of mind.
- Set up websites to coordinate communication and scheduling with the patient’s permission:
- CarePages: Free patient blogs that connect friends and family during health challenges
- CareCalendar: Scheduling tool for meals and other needs for a patient’s family and friends
- Learn the names of medical team members and communicate clearly with them.
If your loved one is in pain, make the staff aware immediately.
- Before the patient goes home, prepare the house:
- Make the bed
- Fill any post-surgery prescriptions and have them ready
- Stock the house with healthy foods and beverages
- Keep track of medications and when to take them
Contact us if you or your loved one has any questions. We are available to answer them 24/7, so please do not hesitate to ask.
Information for Family & Visitors