7 tips from our members to make your hospital stay easier

Posted: Mar 08 2022

Going to hospital can be daunting, whether it’s for day surgery or a more complex procedure that requires you to stay in hospital for a couple of nights.

Not knowing what to expect can add to your worry. We heard from over 800 of our members on their hospital experience in 2021, here are their top tips to help make your admission run smoothly.

Tips for hospital

1. Call Health Partners before going to hospital

Most of the members we surveyed about their hospital experience recommended contacting Health Partners as soon as you know you’ll need surgery, well before the admission.

What some members mentioned that Health Partners helped them with included:

  • Confirming what’s included on their level of cover
  • Answering any questions, including how hospital admissions work and what the options are
  • Sharing how to save on your out of pocket costs
  • Speaking about recovery options – you may be eligible for care and recovery options at home. This means that you are more in control and you have some idea what may happen next and to check with your healthcare team.

2. Do your research

Many members said that getting a second opinion and researching their specialist team helped them to save money and feel more confident going into their surgery. This may include:

  • Asking whether they participate in Health Partners Access Gap Scheme, designed to minimise or eliminate gaps for our members.
  • Research which can include checking the doctor’s credentials and information online, checking the AHPRA website to check they are registered, and asking them about things such as complication rates for your type of surgery. If you know someone who has had the same surgery as you, speaking with them about their chosen specialist and decision making process may also be helpful.
  • Don’t be afraid of getting a second opinion if things don’t feel right or seem too expensive: it’s often as easy as calling another specialist’s rooms and having a chat to their reception staff, or going back to your GP to indicate that the costs were not what you expected and if they had another recommendation.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get clear information on costs

Ask questions of your health insurer (us!), GP, specialist, anaesthetist, and anyone else involved in your procedure.

  • A number of our members recommended making a list of questions you want to ask before, during and after your surgery so that you don’t forget any questions that are important to you. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve done some of the hard work for you and put together a suggested list of topics to help you along the way. If you know someone who has had a similar surgery, it can also be helpful to ask them for information so you can discuss further with your doctor.
  • Discuss all costs upfront and clarify any out of pocket costs so that you are financially prepared prior to surgery. Here are some tips on how you can save on your medical bills >

4. Preparation is key

Depending on the type of surgery you are having, you might think there’s not much to organise, but preparation can be a key step in making you feel calm and relaxed before and after surgery.

Some preparation steps that our members suggested include:

  • Call the hospital the night before to confirm whether they are running on time.
  • Organise someone to take you home from hospital, and a responsible person to look after you or your children if you have had sedation or anaesthetic. As much as we all like to be independent, your friends and family will mostly likely be glad that they can help in some way.
  • Submit pre-admission forms as soon as possible. Use online forms prior to the day of surgery.
  • Write down questions, previous illnesses, allergies and medication for easy access and when speaking with hospital and medical staff.

To make sure you’ve covered everything, we’ve put together a checklist on how to prepare for your procedure >

5. What to bring

In addition to anything specific recommended by your doctor or nursing staff, if you’re spending a couple of days in hospital, a number of our members recommend packing:

  • a good dressing gown and slippers
  • your own pillow, to make it feel more like home
  • phone charger, with longer cable if possible (there’s nothing worse than realising you have to get out of bed to use your phone when charging, especially if you’ve just had surgery)
  • toiletries
  • entertainment options such as a book or tablet in case you have a long wait or don’t get much sleep
  • all of your regular medications (following advice of your doctor on when to take them in relation to your surgery)
  • warm clothing in layers so that you can tailor them to the temperature of the hospital.

6. Support

Many of our members shared how important it was to be unafraid to ask for support from those around you. This might include:

  • speaking to people who have been to hospital before or had a similar operation
  • bringing a support person if you are anxious or as a second set of ears when discussing details with your doctor, provided this is allowed
  • arranging visits – depending on the hospital’s policy and current COVID-19 restrictions
  • following the advice of doctors and nurses who are there to help you through the process. Check with them if you don’t understand something. They would rather you understand what you need to do.

7. Recovery

Now your surgery or procedure is over, you can focus on your recovery. Things to think about ahead of time, as mentioned by our members, include:

  • Ask Health Partners about what services are available, to assist in your recovery such as Rehab in the Home and home nursing (at no extra charge for members with eligible Hospital cover; waiting periods and clinical eligibility applies).
  • Ongoing physiotherapy may be very useful to help in your recovery, or the use of recovery aids such as crutches, walking frames etc. along with discounts on things like pain relief and medications at the pharmacy – your Extras cover may come in handy here.
  • Understand the estimated recovery time for your procedure and check with your specialist if you are having any issues.

Margaret Check Your Cover

Planning surgery? Call us first.

We can help you plan better, save on out of pocket costs and recover easier.

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This article was informed by member responses to Health Partners Hospital Survey July 2021.

Posted: Mar 08 2022

Disclaimer

The information contained here is of a general nature and does not take into account your personal medical situation. The information is not a substitute for independent professional medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or used for therapeutic purposes. Should you require specific medical information, please seek advice from your healthcare practitioner. Health Partners does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided. While we have prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee that it is accurate, complete or up-to-date. And while we may mention goods or services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them.

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