Nobody likes staying in hospital – but let’s face it, if we avoided hospitals, there would be fewer of us walking around and enjoying life right now.
If you have never experienced the healthcare environment before, it can be a scary – and, maybe, exciting – prospect once you know you need treatment, an operation or general care for an illness.
However, knowing what to expect can give you an idea of what to look out for. And you should always remember that if you don’t get the care you are expecting, there are ways and means of putting things right. Let’s take a look at what you can expect from a hospital stay.
A personal service
The NHS is a fantastic institution, but because of this, it’s fair to say that many people expect silver service treatment and a perfect experience every time they go to a hospital. It’s unrealistic, of course – but you should expect to be treated as a person, rather than a condition. Some doctors and consultants can seem a little aloof at times – perhaps even talking about you while you are there. If this occurs to you, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions – the vast majority of doctors are only doing it by mistake, as they are under a lot of pressure.
As a patient, it’s only right to expect to know the names of the people who are treating you, whether they are doctors, nurses, or healthcare assistants. It doesn’t take much for hospital staff to do – a simple hello and introduction are all that is needed – but many can forget as they are so busy. Again, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and ask them their name. Little things like this will help you feel a lot more comfortable about your stay.
While your stay in hospital will never be 100 percent agreeable due to an illness, injury, or condition, you should expect to be as comfortable as possible. Hospital furniture and beds are designed to be moved around and adapted to fit a patient’s individual needs, so if things aren’t quite right, don’t be frightened to tell your nurse. Don’t forget, communication is critical in the hospital environment, and it’s important to relay your thoughts and feelings to healthcare professionals, so they have a better understanding of your condition.
Water should be available at all times during your hospital stay. If your condition means you struggle to drink on your own, make sure that someone is giving you assistance on a regular basis. One thing you will notice about hospitals is that they are hot environments! It can have a dehydrating effect, so ensure you are drinking as much fluid as possible.
Finally, the most important part of your hospital stay is that you should always leave knowing more about your condition than when you arrived. Your healthcare team should be informing you about your condition, as well as giving you advice on aftercare for when you leave the hospital. Many patients with rare problems end up knowing more about them than their own GP – so that’s the sort of knowledge you can expect!