Before you go / What to Bring?

Making plans before you go into hospital can help to make the whole experience go much more smoothly and stop you from feeling anxious about your visit.

Inpatients

If you live alone, you will need to make sure everything is taken care of in your home before you go into hospital:

  • If you have a pet - is there someone you can ask to feed/look after it?
  • Do you have any deliveries such as papers/milk that you need to stop?
  • Ask a friend, relative or neighbour to keep an eye on your home if you think you will be in hospital for more than a few days.

If you are having an operation, the hospital may have given you instructions regarding whether you can eat or drink before you come in. It is very important to follow these instructions, as it can affect your anaesthetic.

If you feel unwell before you are due to come into hospital, telephone the ward you are due to go to for advice.

Many hospitals may ask you to phone them on the morning of your admission, to confirm that there is a bed available. This is because if the hospital provides an Accident & Emergency service, an unexpected number of urgent admissions can sometimes make cancellations of other patients unavoidable.

What to bring?

Storage space at hospitals is generally very limited, so try not to bring too much with you! In addition, you will be responsible for your own valuables – so leave jewellery and large amounts of cash at home. You will only need small amounts of ‘petty’ cash for day-to-day use.

Items you will need to bring if you are staying in hospital overnight include:  

  • Toiletries, such as shaving cream and razor, toothbrush and toothpaste, comb/hairbrush, and facecloth, soap and towel
  • Pyjamas/Nightdress
  • Dressing gown and slippers or soft shoes
  • Any specialist items, such as hearing aid, walking stick, glasses etc.
  • A book/magazine/crosswords etc to pass the time
  • Documents  (medical card, documentation on insurance cover if you have any).

Outpatients

Travel plans

  • Plan how you will travel to the hospital before you go: check bus/train timetables to the hospital, or take plenty of change for the hospital car park if you intend to drive.
  • Some Health Service Executive (HSE) Areas provide transport services for people travelling to outpatient appointments; on occasion the HSE Area may assist with transport costs for a person who has to travel a long distance. Ask your GP for further information if you require such transportation.

Your appointment

  • Book the whole of the morning/afternoon of your appointment off work, or cancel any other engagements, so that you will not worry if you are running late.
  • Write down any questions you want to ask the doctor, and make a note of any medications you are on and how often you take them.
  • Take something to pass the time in case there is a wait – e.g., a book or magazine to read.
  • If you are anxious about receiving upsetting news, take a friend or relative with you.

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