5 Ways to Make Your Hospital Stay a Little Easier

Having to spend a night, a week or a month in the hospital is never fun, whether it is planned or not. I’ve found, however, there are little things you can do to make your stay a little more doable.

As I was getting ready to have surgery, I knew I would be in the hospital for at least one night, possibly more. This got me thinking about my previous hospital experiences and the tricks I’ve picked up on.

Here are my top five hospital tips:

1. Pack a bag. This is obviously easier if you know in advance you’ll have to be in the hospital overnight, but you can also have a bag at the ready if you’re prone to frequent unplanned hospital visits. I’m always freezing in the hospital gown, so I bring some sweatpants and a sweatshirt for when I’m allowed to wear them. I also like to pack some of my “creature comforts.” These include my favorite lotion, a sleep mask, a little stuffed penguin, a book and my headphones.

2. Make sure you’re comfortable. I’ve learned that being shy about asking for things in the hospital is pointless. If you are cold, ask for hospital socks and an extra blanket (or two!). If your bed isn’t comfortable, ask for another pillow. Sometimes these won’t be available, especially in a busy emergency room, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

3. Make the room feel less like a hospital room. If you have to stay for longer than a day or two, being surrounded by blank hospital walls can start to get to you. See if a friend can bring flowers (if you’re allowed to have them) or something to tack up on the wall to brighten up the room.

4. Don’t fight the urge to sleep. Unless you’ve been medically advised not to, there is no reason why you shouldn’t let your body rest while in the hospital. I take naps whenever I can, especially if I’ve been admitted, since getting woken up in the middle of the night and at the crack of dawn for vital sign checks are not conducive to a good night’s sleep.

5. Speak up. If something doesn’t feel right, or you have a question about a procedure or test results, don’t hesitate to ask, and ask again if you don’t get answers the first time. You are the patient, and you deserve to know what’s going on with your body.

Being in the hospital is never fun, but these tips help make hospital stays a little more bearable. If any of you have any other hospital tips, I’d love to read them!

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