You can be admitted to the hospital through the Emergency Department (which usually means a sudden change in your condition) or through a Planned Admission (usually non-urgent, for a treatment, procedure or test that cannot be done as an outpatient).
Below is important information to know for a planned admission:
- Preparing for your Admission
- Your Doctor in the Hospital
- Prior Decisions and Advance Directives
- The Care Plan before Hospitalization
Hospitals have instructions in writing and online for how to plan for an admission. You should also discuss with your doctor how to prepare for your admission and what to bring with you. In all cases, you will need the following:
- Insurance card
- List of your physicians
- Medications in original containers (or a list of your medications, including vitamins and supplements)
- Advance Directives
In a sudden emergency you may not have time to gather everything on this list. Keep a packet with your New York State Health Care Proxy, lists of your medications and physicians, and other important contact information somewhere where it can be easily picked up and brought along in case of a rushed situation. WELC’s Be Prepared Kit can be a very helpful tool.
Learn more about preparing for a planned admission.
When you are admitted to the hospital you will be assigned a doctor – your hospital physician. He or she will be in charge of your care while you are in the hospital. It may be your usual primary physician or it may be a hospitalist.
A hospitalist is a physician who is employed to work at the hospital. Many physicians no longer go into the hospital to care for their patients. Instead, they have a hospitalist partner who is assigned to your care and who communicates regularly with your primary care doctor.
Make sure you give the name of your primary care or internal medicine physician to the admissions nurse. Also, give the names of any other providers you are seeing (for example, oncologist, pulmonologist, renal specialist, cardiologist, palliative medicine specialist, neurologist). If you are admitted to a hospital where your physician is not on staff and does not have a hospitalist partner, your care will be assigned to a physician who works at that hospital. It is important to provide your physician’s name and contact information to the hospital staff so that your assigned physician can get your medical history.
Bring a copy of your advance directives with you to the hospital. This includes your health care proxy as well as any other advance directives you may have (for example, DNR and MOLST). During the admission process, make sure you give your advance directives to the admissions nurse so that they become part of your hospital chart.
Your hospital chart is a medical record documenting everything important about your carefrom admission to discharge.
Speak to your hospital physician about your advance directives and choices so that they are part of your plan of care while you are in the hospital.
During the admission process, share the names of all the medications you are taking, including prescriptions, over-the-counter and herbal remedies. Tell the admissions nurse if they are taken daily or as needed. This information needs to be entered into your chart.
Be sure to mention if you are on pain medication – pills or a patch system. These medications should not be stopped suddenly. You can ask if your pills or patch will continue while you are in the hospital or if they will be changed to an IV (intravenous device).
Discharge planning starts at the time of admission. Tell the hospital physician and admissions nurse if you were receiving care in the home from a CHHA (Certified Home Health Agency) or a hospice. Knowing your care situation at the time of admission is helpful in planning your discharge.