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Preparing for a Hospital Stay Documents, Personal Items, and Advance Directives are Key


Submitted by Heartland HealthCare of Moline

Whether it’s elective or essential, checking into the hospital can be a stressful and confusing process. By taking a little time to prepare and organize before you are admitted, you will help to make your entire hospital stay easier and less stressful. 

Hospitals can be big and overwhelming for people, especially when they are coping with a serious illness or an upcoming surgery. The best way to help reduce anxiety is to prepare yourself, your important documents, and your personal items. “Patients need to be proactive in their own care,” says Ann Sieprawski, Admissions Director from Heartland Health Care Center – Moline. “By having their insurance documents, personal items and advance directives in place they can not only streamline the admission process, but feel confident that their preferences for medical care will be honored.”

Paperwork and documents top the list of essentials for hospital admission. Specific documents you must have include your Social Security number and an identification card with a photo, such as a drivers license or state-issued identification. You will also need membership cards for your health insurance, supplemental insurance, and Medicare or Medicaid.

Providing the correct information is critical for the hospital to correctly submit claims for reimbursement to the appropriate insurance carrier. Also bring a complete list of all medications you are taking. Include prescription and over the counter medications, vitamins and herbal supplements, and note the dosage and length of time you have been taking each one.

You may wish to bring clothing items such as a bathrobe and slippers, and personal grooming items like a toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush or comb, hand lotion or deodorant. Do not bring valuables such as jewelry, personal electronics, or large amounts of cash and credit cards, although you may want to bring a small amount of money for small purchases, such as a newspaper. Books and magazines can help to pass the time, but check hospital regulations regarding cell phones, laptops and e readers. Besides the danger of theft, they may cause disruptions in hospital monitoring equipment. 

Advance directives such as a living will and medical power of attorney will ensure that your wishes and preferences for medical care will be honored. A living will contains your instructions regarding your medical care, appropriate life saving measures and end of life decisions in the event your are unable to speak for yourself. A medical power of attorney gives the individual of your choice the ability to make medical care decisions for you when you are unable to do so for yourself. These legal documents should be prepared by an attorney and copies made for your personal records. It is also a good idea to discuss these wishes with your family and your primary care physician, so there are no questions if there is a medical emergency. “Patients may wish to have a friend or family member act as advocate for them” said Ms. Sieprawski. “They can ask questions regarding your medical care and condition and work with your doctors and nurses if the need should arise.”

For more information contact Heartland HealthCare of Moline at 309-764-6744.