Admission to Hospital: What to Expect and How to Prepare

Navigating the process of being admitted to a hospital can be daunting, whether it’s a planned procedure or an emergency situation. From the initial check-in at the admitting section to settling into your room, understanding what to expect can help alleviate some of the anxiety and ensure a smoother experience.

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the essential steps of hospital admission, offer tips on how to prepare, and provide insights into what you can anticipate during your stay. Whether you’re a patient or a caregiver, this guide will help you feel more confident and informed as you embark on this journey.

Requirements for admission to varies from one hospital to another. This post will serve as a guide on the things needed during your hospital stay.

Pre-Hospital Preparations

Reserve a Room

Most of the time, the hospital is working at full capacity, making it difficult to secure a room. It is good practice to reserve in advance. The admitting section personnel usually accommodate patients scheduled for surgery, but it is best to reserve and be admitted a day or two prior to the scheduled surgery. For government hospitals, don’t forget to also call to follow up and know your status in the queue.

Secure Outpatient Clearances

For elective surgery, especially for General Surgery, patients are often required to be cleared by their cardiologist, endocrinologist, pulmonologist, etc., prior to surgery on an outpatient basis. This saves time and reduces costs.

For neurosurgery, we prefer our labs and imaging to be updated. This is why we ask our patients to be admitted at least a day before surgery. Clearances from other doctors are also requested during the current admission to ensure they are aware and on board if any problems arise during or after surgery.

Stop Anti-Coagulant Medications

Bleeding during surgery is a major concern. It is recommended to stop taking your anti-coagulant a week prior to surgery. These medications include Aspirin, Clopidogrel, and NOACs like Apixaban.

Hospital Documentary Requirements

Your Doctor’s Admitting Order

Your doctor will give you an Admitting Order Sheet. It is a set of instructions on tests and medications needed by the patient at the time of admission. The admitting order could be a comprehensive list of instructions or just preliminary instructions pending further evaluation. Present this at the Admitting Section to be assigned a room. Once a room is available, you go directly to the room. We call this a Direct Admission.

Valid Government-Issued Identification Card

Part of the hospital’s documentary requirements is to get a patient’s personal information and verify it with a government ID. It is advisable for the patient and their watcher to have a photocopy of their ID handy.

PhilHealth Member Data Record and ID

The patient’s PhilHealth Member’s Data Record (MDR) or PhilHealth ID is required for coverage. This will be used in processing the patient’s PhilHealth deductions. Have a photocopy ready.

Letter of Authority or Letter of Guarantee from HMO/Company

For those with a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) Card, please secure a Letter of Authority from your health provider prior to elective admission. For company-sponsored patients, a Letter of Guarantee is required.

COVID Swab and Chest X-ray Results

Different hospitals have different protocols. Some require a COVID test, while others are comfortable with just a normal chest X-ray if the patient presents no symptoms. It is best to inquire with the admitting section once you reserve a room. Ask for the requirements for both the patient and the watcher.

admission to hospital - go bag

Medical Records

Laboratory Results

Some doctors request laboratory tests to be done as outpatients prior to hospital admission. Photocopy the blood test results and have them ready once admitted. This minimizes the cost of repeating the same tests.

Imaging Results

Imaging tests done as outpatients or at another institution should also be brought. Tests like ultrasound, X-rays, CT scans, and MRI should be readily available and not left at home. Some patients only bring the printed reports, but it is preferable to see the imaging films/plates. If films or plates are not available, a digital copy on CD/DVD will suffice. This facilitates comparison with current studies to be requested.

List of Medications

It would make your life easier if you list all the medications you are taking, including the name, dosage, form, and timing. This helps in monitoring your current medications. I recommend listing your medications like this:

  • Atorvastatin – Lipitor – 20mg/tablet – 1 tablet at bedtime
  • Omeprazole – Losec – 20mg/tablet – 1 tablet after breakfast

Medical History

A typed medical history would be helpful, minimizing the repetitive questions asked by different medical personnel. Commonly asked questions include:

  • Allergies to medication/food
  • Previous surgeries and histopathologic findings
  • Other illnesses like hypertension, diabetes, tumors, etc.
  • Cigarette and alcohol intake
  • Vaccination status for children

Personal Items

Toiletries

Basic items are often provided by the hospital as part of the Hospital Admission Kit, but it is still nice to bring your toiletries, such as soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb/brush, and sanitary napkins.

Change of Clothes

Most of the time, you will be in a hospital gown. If you don’t feel comfortable, bring loose, easy-to-access clothes. Towels and blankets may be allowed (some hospitals don’t permit them). Bring socks and a jacket if you get cold easily.

Phone Charger

A patient in the ICU is not allowed to have watchers. It can get lonely, and a way to communicate is via mobile phone. Make sure you have your charger handy to keep your phone powered.

Plates, Utensils, and Cups

Eating in disposable containers and using disposable utensils can be unpleasant. Bringing your own plates and utensils can alleviate the gloominess of hospital food. Don’t forget to bring dishwashing soap and a sponge for cleaning up.

Watcher’s Must-Have

Mobile Phone

We often need to contact the watcher for various reasons. Leave your number with the nurse in case you need to step out for a bit.

Cash

A petty cash fund is handy for needed purchases. Don’t be surprised if you are asked to buy items not available in the pharmacy. This is a common occurrence in government hospitals.

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Admission to Hospital: What to Expect and How to Prepare

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