If you’re suffering from illness or injury, or need surgery, a hospital is the best place to be. However, most people don’t enjoy hearing that they need an extended hospital stay. On top of worrying about their health problems, many have concerns about being away from home and family, and missing out on daily activities.
These concerns are normal. The good news is they can be alleviated with some planning. If you or a loved one is facing a long hospital stay, the following tips can make the experience less stressful, which is better for everyone – especially the patient!
Bring a Touch of Home With You
Make your hospital room more like home, and you’ll feel a big difference in your outlook. Bring in a few family photos. Or, hang a special piece of artwork on the wall. Do you have a favorite pillow, blanket, socks or slippers? These touches of home can help you feel comforted and safe. For an extra treat, bring your favorite toiletries and your own pajamas and robe.
Stay in Touch With Family and Friends
With a laptop, tablet or smart phone, you can see, text or talk to far-away family and friends – and feel less lonely. Set up Skype dates with your loved ones, for something to look forward to. Don’t have one of these devices? Buy yourself one! After all, if you’re going to be in the hospital for a while, you’ll need a lifeline to the outside world. And with downloadable movies, books, TV shows and magazines, a mobile device can bring you a great deal of entertainment to get you through this tough time.
If you’re used to working, taking care of family and being active, transitioning to a hospital bed with nothing to do can be tough. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to stay busy in the hospital and take your mind off your treatment:
- Invite friends to come visit you.
- Play chess or cards with visitors. Or play solitaire with yourself.
- Revisit crafts or hobbies you haven’t had time for. Now is a good time to get back into knitting, crocheting, sketching or writing.
- Bring a stack of books you’ve wanted to read, or stock up on crossword and Sudoku puzzle books.
- Start a journal of your experience. Or write a short story.
- Find a change of scenery. If you can, take a walk each day. Or, have someone wheel you to another part of the hospital, such as a garden or activity room.
Staying active is one of the best ways to cope with an extended hospital stay. It’s important for your recovery, too.
Keep Up With Your Financial Matters
Staying busy with your finances is a productive way to pass the time. If you don’t already use an online bill pay service, arrange for it through your bank before you enter the hospital. You can have your bills delivered electronically, balance your checkbook and track your expenditures, day or night. You might also want to take care of any medical bills or insurance matters while you’re in the hospital, instead of waiting until you get home.
A hospital environment means a lack of privacy, increased noise levels and disrupted sleep patterns – all of which can lead to stress. Relieving stress can be as easy as listening to your favorite music (load your iPod before you leave home), writing in your journal, reading or meditating.
Don’t hesitate to ask for what you need from hospital staff, friends and family. If you could use a visit, call your favorite people and ask them to come by. If the lights in your room are too bright, ask someone to adjust them. Most importantly, don’t allow stress to build up.
You’ll tolerate an extended time in the hospital more if you get to know the people around you. From physicians and nurses, to orderlies, aides, volunteers and other patients – you’ll be seeing the same folks nearly every day. Ask them about their lives, and share a bit of yourself with them. Getting to know your new “friends” beyond the patient/caregiver relationship can add enjoyment to your stay.
Plan Ahead to Cope With an Extended Hospital Stay
When you’re facing an extended hospital stay, these tips can make it more pleasant. Plan ahead to pass the time productively and ask friends and family for whatever help you need. And remember, your first priority is to get well, so you can go home as quickly as possible.
Erin Palmer is a contributor to U.S. News University Directory a leading resource for healthcare degrees and training programs online. The directory includes accredited online nursing schools along with colleges offering medical transcription degrees, healthcare management programs and many other continuing education programs for the health care professional. For more information please visit http://www.usnewsuniversitydirectory.com/allied-health.aspx