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Going to hospital: Hospital checklist

Your comprehensive checklist of what to pack and the questions to ask before being admitted to hospital.

Hospital stays can be a daunting experience.

While wrapping your head around treatment options, medical jargon and health insurance cover, it can be difficult to focus on the nitty-gritty of a hospital trip.

What do you need to pack? Where should you go when you arrive? How will you get to and from the hospital?

For answers to these questions and more, check out our comprehensive checklist on how to prepare for a trip to hospital.

What to pack when going to hospital

Be sure to pack the following items in your hospital bag:

  • Medicare card
  • Private health insurance details
  • Any other concession or health care cards you hold
  • Any pre-admission paperwork or letters from your doctor
  • Any relevant X-rays or scans
  • All current medications you’re taking
  • Health or mobility aids if needed, such as walking frames or hearing aids
  • Sleepwear and comfortable clothing, plus clothes to wear home
  • Toiletries including a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and deodorant
  • Eye mask and ear plugs
  • Books, magazines or other items to keep you entertained
  • Mobile phone (if permitted) and charger

What to pack when pregnant

If you’re pregnant and packing a bag for the maternity ward, as well as the items above you’ll need to consider a few extras:

  • Your birth plan and hospital notes
  • Massage oil or lotion
  • Lip balm
  • Hair bands
  • Snacks and drinks during labour
  • Pillows for additional comfort
  • Heat packs
  • A TENS pain relief machine (if you want to use one)
  • Nursing bras
  • Breastfeeding tops
  • Breast pads and nipple cream
  • Clothing and nappies for the newborn to wear
  • Baby wipes and nappy bag

Questions to ask

When preparing to go to hospital it’s essential to ask questions of your doctor or specialist to get a clearer picture of what you can expect from your stay, such as:

  • What is my condition and why do I need to go to hospital?
  • What will happen during my procedure?
  • How do I know I’m getting the right treatment?
  • What are the risks of the procedure?
  • Will I have any out-of-pocket costs?
  • Where can I find additional information on my condition and the treatment options available?
  • When do I need to go to hospital?
  • Is there anything special I need to bring?
  • Are there any pre-surgery instructions I need to follow, such as fasting for a specific period?
  • What should I do if my health changes beforehand?
  • Who will be involved in my treatment?
  • How long will I be in hospital?
  • What can I expect during the recovery process?
  • Will I need to follow any specific post-operative care advice when I return home?

You should also contact your health insurer to ask these important questions:

  • Is this treatment covered by my policy?
  • Will I need to pay an excess or co-payment?
  • Will I have any other additional costs?
  • Are my premium payments up to date?
  • Have I served all relevant waiting periods?

Arranging transport to and from the hospital

It’s essential to plan how you’re going to get to the hospital for your treatment. Ask a friend or family member for a lift or pre-book a taxi to get you there on time. Leave plenty of time for traffic delays so you’re not running late, make arrangements for your pets and organise time off work if required.

Finally, organise how you’ll get home after your procedure by teeing up a friend or loved one to transport you or be prepared to cover the cost of a taxi. If you’re going into hospital to give birth ensure your vehicle is installed with a baby car seat before the big day arrives.

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Tim Falk

A freelance writer with a passion for the written word, Tim loves helping Australians find the right home loans and savings accounts. When he's not chained to a computer, Tim can usually be found exploring the great outdoors.

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