Here are fifteen tips from hospital insiders that will help you and your loved ones get better care.
- If you expect to be hospitalized, have your personal items ready.
- Take advantage of additional services available to you during your hospital stay. Most hospitals have nutritionists, spiritual guides, and a variety of highly trained specialists (including respiratory, occupational, and physical therapists) on-site who can visit your room upon request.
- Take note of the visitor policies before inviting loved ones to visit.
- Don’t be nervous if you are receiving treatment from a doctor in training. At teaching hospitals, it’s normal to be seen by a doctor in training, such as a resident or fellow.
- Doctors typically do not know the cost of diagnostic tests, treatments, or medications.
- Expect to receive two separate hospital bills. Most physicians are not employed by hospitals. This means you will receive at least two bills after your hospital stay: one from the hospital and one (or more) from your provider(s).
- Your anesthesiologist or NICU doctor might not take your insurance, even if the hospital does.
- You can stay overnight in the hospital without being admitted. If you are on Medicare, you will want to read this blog entry on a potential problem with this scenario.
- To get things done, ask for the charge nurse or nurse manager.
- You can request a private room.
- Many hospitals have VIP floors, and they are not always filled. Ask about them prior to admission.
- Don’t assume that requesting an appointment with the chief of a hospital, department, division, or unit will get you better care.
- Ask for undisturbed sleep time. While this request can’t always be accommodated, ask your clinicians to avoid coming into your room and disturbing you in the middle of the night.
- Express gratitude to hospital staff. When patients are gracious and show appreciation for their hard work, it makes a difference.
- Take notes during discharge. You may have several next steps, including making appointments and taking medications.
Obviously, there's a lot of additional explanation for each of these points, so you will want to read this article to be fully prepared for a hospital stay.