No one likes staying in hospital, but as we age, it becomes more likely that we’ll need to spend at least some time there, whether it is for observation or an operation. Here are our best tips to help make your hospital stay as comfortable as possible.
1. Ask questions
Many people are intimidated into silence when being spoken to by medical professionals. But knowing that it’s perfectly okay to ask questions is important – ask them until you better understand your own condition and why you’re receiving the treatment you are.
2. Comfort helps
If you hate the thought of hospital blankets and pillows – then bring your own. Make sure you wash them before and after your stay, and enjoy the home comforts they bring.
3. Eat all of your food
During illness, and after medical procedures, your body uses more energy than usual to fight off infection. Help yourself out by increasing the amount of food you’re eating, or at least not letting yourself succumb to a lack of appetite.
4. This isn’t a hotel
Unlike when staying at a nice hotel, the toiletries provided in hospitals aren’t always as gentle on your skin as perhaps you’re used to. Be kind to your skin by remembering to pack your own toiletries – soap, body lotions, face wash, hand cream. You’ll be in recycled air for a number of days, so looking after your skin is important.
5. Walk around
With your doctor’s blessing, you should get out of bed and walk around as much as possible. Not only will this keep you occupied in between visitors, it helps to prevent blood clots, and can reduce the length of your stay.
6. Take notes
If you find it difficult to keep straight the different doctors who speak to you throughout your stay, it can be a good idea to keep a notebook handy so you can jot things down. As patients, we are sometimes taking medication that can make memory fuzzy and comprehension a struggle – write things down as you hear them so you can go over them when you’re more lucid.
7. Bring entertainment
Bring a book or eReader, as well as other things that will keep you occupied during the day, or when nights drag on. Colouring in books are a fun way to pass the time, as are mind games like crosswords and Sudoku. Tablet computers can hold many games, as well as browse the internet and stream TV and movies, which is often a better option than the tiny hospital room TV.
What’s your best tip for people staying in hospital? Let us know in the comments below.