My mom called me to tell me my dad had a fever. At the time, I lived in fear of fevers. Fevers meant infection. Infection meant a hospital stay, which also meant an argument.
He didn’t want to go to the hospital. Neither did I, really, it was Sunday night. Why did these things always seem to happen on a weekend or a holiday?!
He almost had me convinced. I was on the verge of agreeing to wait until tomorrow when he said, “I can’t talk anymore. I gotta go, it’s star time.”
Uh oh. That’s not good, I thought. Definitely an infection talking (delirium can accompany a urinary tract infection in seniors.) I hung up, got my car keys, and headed out to go take “Starman” to the hospital.
As my dad spent the summer in and out of the hospital, I learned how to make it easier with each stay.
Hospital Checklist: What to Bring to the Hospital
Identification and social security number
Medical conditions summary
Copies of your Advance Directives
A friend or helper
Pre-op paperwork or reports, if any
Small notebook and pen
Cane, walker, and/or wheelchair
Tablet, books, and/or magazines
Throat lozenges or hard candies
Chargers (phone, tablet, electric razor, etc.)
Comfortable clothes (including warm socks)
Patience — you will be waiting
Hospital Checklist: What Not to Bring to the Hospital
- Valuables like jewelry, wallets, or purses
- Weapons (did I really need to remind you?)
- A bad attitude — research has shown that rudeness in a medical setting negatively affects the care you receive.
There may be times when you need to bring your own medication from home. For example, my dad was on a prescribed medication that was not commonly stocked in local or hospital pharmacies (he had to get it by mail order.)
If you do bring medication to the hospital, make sure the staff knows. They are responsible for administering it while you’re there, and knowing what you’re taking will also help them check for interactions and avoid mistakes.
So there you have it, a hospital checklist. I hope this can save you some time if you need to go to the hospital yourself!