Preparing for ER Visits & Hospitalizations – Wellness Notes

WELLNESS NOTES

“My spirit abides among you, do not fear” Haggai 2:5

The second in our series of “LIFE HAPPENS” articles will discuss the following:

PREPARING FOR ER VISITS AND HOSPITALIZATIONS

Emergency  Room visits are not something one plans for,  but as life happens, that time might come. To be certain you are not caught unprepared in an accident or sudden illness we can do some thinking ahead.   

·         Place a card or sticker on each home phone & cell phone with your home address & phone # in an emergency if 911 is called you (or anyone) will be able to tell them where to come.

·         Assure your identification, Insurance cards, phone numbers of important family members or friends, Small pad of paper & pen, & current medication list are all in your wallet or purse where whomever goes with you to the ER can find them and take them with you. 

·         Include a card in your above cards with the name and address of nearest medical facility.  If a neighbor or family member must drive you, they will know where to go.

·         Advocate for yourself by asking questions, make certain Medical Personnel understand your symptoms and questions, and if possible have someone prepared to write down what is told you for future reference.

·         Check NOW to see if your insurance covers ambulance, ER, Urgent Care, or non-admission visits.

Hospitalization may be expected or emergency.  Thinking ahead makes that stay so much more comfortable.   Consider having the following packed, convenient, and up to date to take to the hospital:

·         Insurance and ID, Authorizations, Directions to the hospital with address & phone # for family.

·         Personal toiletries, Chap Stick & lotion that you know works for you, toothbrush, tooth paste, comb & brush.

·         Bathrobe, slippers, socks, comfortable discharge clothes—all labeled with permanent marker.

·         Names & Addresses and Important numbers , paper & pen you might need while in the hospital

·         Current Medication list (do not take your medications except inhalers)

·         Glasses with case, dentures, hearing aids with extra batteries, (ask nurse for container for these & label it. )                      

·         Cell phone & Charger

·         Advanced Directives and Living Will copy.

·         List of available housing for loved ones (such as Taylor House in Flagstaff or hotels by Mayo)

·         Let Admissions know which family or friends may be told your personal healthcare information.

·         Plan for transportation upon discharge and ask Dr. for post hospital prescriptions so they may be filled BEFORE discharge. (be sure pain meds are there when you arrive home)

DO NOT TAKE:   Jewelry, credit cards, cash, electric appliances (shaver, hair dryer or curling iron), or personal electronic devices (except possibly Kindle or Tablet). 

EDUCATE yourself on the procedure or test your will be receiving before admission if possible.  Utilize the Hospital Library, Parish Nurse or Physician, Websites like www.mayoclinic.org  or WebMD for accurate information.

ADVOCATE for yourself or make certain you have someone with you who will.  Get questions answered, don’t be afraid to ask Nurses or Doctors to clarify information. It is wise to have someone stay with you the first hospital night.   Ask to see Social Service or Dietitian if you have discharge questions or need resources.  If possible let your Faith Community know of your needs for prayer, Pastoral Visits, confidentiality, or equipment.  

LIFE HAPPENS—-BE PREPARED—MINIMIZE FEAR AND CONFUSION

Alice Stephenson BSN,RN,PN

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