If you need to be treated for a severe illness or injury, you may be required to stay at the hospital for more than just a few nights. Extended hospital stays are especially common for patients undergoing surgery, chemotherapy, or other medical procedures requiring continual care. In these scenarios, you will need to prepare for a long hospital stay.
5 Tips on How to Prepare for a Long Hospital Stay
While you might be spared the stress of rushing to the emergency room in such cases, you might still find it nerve-wracking and even a little scary to prepare for an extended hospital stay. After all, you’ll leave your home and everyday responsibilities behind for a significant time. You may also be worried about your health, the treatment you’re about to undergo, and the possible recovery trajectory.
It’s normal to feel worried or nervous about hospitalization, even if you have access to state-of-the-art medical care. While you’re guaranteed to be well looked after at any Singapore hospital, you can also do many things to preserve your peace of mind when preparing for an extended stay. Try the following tips to ensure that your next hospital stay is rejuvenating and stress-free:
Decide on a Payment Plan Ahead of Time
Figuring out your finances is probably one of the more stressful parts of your hospitalization experience, so it’s in your best interest to plan. Fortunately, permanent Singapore residents have access to universal healthcare and public health insurance, which they can use to cover major medical expenses.
If you’re an expatriate with private health insurance coverage, the first thing you’ll want to do is make sure the hospital you’re going to be treated at is covered under your current plan. You’ll also want to tell your insurance provider about your stay ahead of time, as some insurers will only agree to cover scheduled hospital stays they’ve been informed about in advance.
Expats who don’t have private insurance coverage can call their hospital’s billing department and ask what they can do to help settle financial matters. Many hospitals and other large healthcare institutions have financial counselors who can advise patients needing financial assistance. They can put together a payment plan for you, and in some circumstances, they might even offer you a substantial discount.
Patients with little to no income may qualify for government assistance or their hospital’s charity care program. Even if you’re not confident you’ll be able to afford medical treatment, it’s always good to ask how your hospital can help you get the care you need.
Gather All Necessary Documents
Organizing your essential paperwork before you head to the hospital will save you a lot of stress and make it easier to settle in. List down all medications you take and your doctors’ names and contact numbers. Do also make copies of any essential records or forms your healthcare provider may have asked you to provide beforehand and keep them together in an envelope or folder.
You may also want to fill out an Advance Medical Directive (AMD), also known as a “living will,” as well as a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). These documents will be invaluable if you become mentally incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself regarding your treatments. An AMD details your instructions on end-of-life medical care. At the same time, an LPA allows you to designate a specific healthcare agent who can make critical medical decisions on your behalf.
Once you’ve prepared the legal documents mentioned above, ensure your loved ones know where to find them so they can retrieve them quickly if necessary.
Settle Necessary Tasks around the House
Make arrangements for things at home to be taken care of while at the hospital, such as pet care, child care, collecting mail, and paying the bills. You can ask for help from a friend, neighbor, or family member or hire a professional housekeeper to look after your home while you’re gone.
If you’re going to be leaving behind an empty house, taking time to clean and tidy up before you go can set any concerns you have about household chores to rest. Then, you can ask someone you trust to look in on your home from time to time.
Take a Bit of Home with You
Bringing certain personal items with you can help make your hospital stay more pleasant and comfortable. Packing your toothbrush, shampoo, face, body wash, and other personal care essentials, for example, will let you observe the same hygiene routines that you would at home. Bringing your pillow and blanket can make a sterile, chilly hospital room feel homier and enable you to rest comfortably.
Bring Your Entertainment
Many patients on extended hospital stays find themselves combatting boredom more often than not, so bringing enjoyable things to occupy your time and attention is always a plus. Queue up your favorite shows and movies on your preferred streaming service, or bring a couple of books or audiobooks you’ve been dying to go through. Finding ways to indulge in your hobbies, such as puzzles, crafts, or video games, can also help keep you in a positive mood and promote healing.
How to Prepare for a Long Hospital Stay
While hospitalization is never fun, careful preparation will help you get through the experience stress-free. With your worries behind you, you’ll be better able to focus on your physical and mental well-being as you recover.