Preparing for a hospital visit

My mum is going into hospital. What do I need to prepare?

An overnight bag is one of the first things that you’ll need to consider. It should include: toiletries, towel, extra pyjamas and nightwear, dressing gown day wear; and a ‘This is Me’ or brief list of usual routine, likes and dislikes if your mum isn’t able to express these. All clothing should be labelled and it’s also important to take along a laundry bag so all of the clothes can be stored in one place ready for returning home.

In addition you may wish to include: books/magazines; electric radio/audio device with headphones; and other familiar items that provide comfort.

If you are escorting your mum to hospital it is vital that you remain calm and relaxed, any tension or stress can easily transfer to your mum. When you are driving to the hospital try not to focus on the fact that your mum will be staying overnight, and do not give too much information. This will avoid causing more stress or anxiety.

When you arrive at the hospital the first thing to establish is good communication with the staff. Who is the key person overseeing your mum’s stay? Talk to them; give them a good understanding of your mum. Let them know what she likes to be called, what her favourite items are and whether she requires help during meal times and going to the bathroom. Alongside this, make sure you and your mum understand the layout of the ward and show her the toilet facilities, for example.

Make sure the hospital staff have up to date and correct contact details for yourself or another relative who cares for your mum. It’s fair to request that you are present at all meetings and consultations concerning your mum. Remember you may even be able to request that you can stay overnight with your mum and visit outside of usual visiting hours. This is dependent on individual hospital policy but we recommend you ask.