When You Need A Hospital

Sometimes, getting well will require a stay in a hospital. When circumstances permit, plan ahead for your hospital stay.

  • Choose a hospital that has treated many patients with your condition or performed the surgery you need. Your doctor and the Hospital Performance Report will be able to help you identify the best hospitals in your area.
  • Pack pens and paper so that you can write down answers to any questions you ask hospital staff.
  • Ask a friend or family member to serve as your health advocate in the event that you’re unable to communicate with hospital staff. You may also hire a professional health advocate. Additionally, some hospitals have patient advocates on staff. Call the hospital and ask to speak with them.
  • Ask your physician whether she or he will visit you in the hospital. If they will not, ask for the name of the physician who will oversee your hospital care.
  • Find out which hospital staff will develop your care plan. Ask them how often they will meet to discuss your needs and how they will communicate with you and your family.
After You've Been Admitted
  • Ask doctors and other hospital personnel who have contact you whether they have washed their hands. Hand washing is important to prevent the spread of infections between patients.
  • When hospital staff make any adjustments or changes to your IV medication, ask about the purpose of the medication and the dosage. Write the information down when possible.
When You're Preparing To Be Discharged
  • Before you leave the nursing unit, read the discharge care instructions provided by the hospital. Ask a doctor or nurse about any instructions or information you don’t understand.
  • Ask for copies of the results of any tests performed during your hospital stay.
  • Ask when you can resume normal activity.
Last Reviewed: 5/25/2016