In the Hospital
You are admitted to the hospital because you need medical care or special tests that cannot be done for you as an outpatient or in a doctor’s office. As an inpatient (admitted, overnight patient) in the hospital you receive acute care (for example, IV (intravenous) medications, breathing treatments, surgery, drainage tubes, or various tests).
Being hospitalized can be challenging. Concerns are especially common when a serious illness is diagnosed in an urgent situation. The need for information is often critical and decisions may need to be made quickly. Based on the situation, some decisions will be made by the medical team, and other decisions will be discussed with you or your health care agent.
It is possible to be in the hospital for a day or two for “observation” without being admitted. Insurance coverage may be different depending on your type of hospital stay, so be sure to check with your insurance company. General information about hospital admission, including the difference between inpatient and outpatient.
Whatever the reason or circumstance for your hospitalization, it is important to stay informed and get the help you need. Understanding what to expect, what to do, and who can assist and support you can reduce stress. This section covers information that can help you prepare for your admission to the hospital:
- Hospital Admission – how to prepare and what to bring
- Understanding your Diagnosis – where to get information and help
- Making Decisions – what to consider (for example, life-sustaining treatments, “DNR”)
- Hospital Discharge – process and options for care after you leave the hospital
Keep an updated list of your physicians, medications, and contact information readily available to bring with you to the hospital.