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Helpful tips to consider while preparing for your surgery

Having surgery is a big deal. It is okay to be nervous. Here are some tips from social worker Leslie Weide that may help you as you plan for your hospital stay and recovery.

Prepare what you can before you arrive for surgery

Think about transportation. How will you get to and from the hospital? Where will you park? Is there a cost to park? Most insurance companies do NOT cover transportation out of the hospital. Plan for a ride for the day you will be going home.

Know your insurance benefits

A person can stay overnight in a hospital but may not be considered “inpatient” by insurance criteria. The alternative categories could be listed as “outpatient” or “observation.” This may impact insurance coverage for things such as going to rehab at a Transitional Care Unit. Although requirements for post operative resources have changed since Covid, it is still important to understand your admission status for surgery in the hospital building. Your team will discuss this with you throughout your stay.

Bring a notepad and a pen

It is easy to get confused in the hospital, especially while recovering from surgery. Use this to write down questions that come up, and who you have met with. Get to know your care team and their roles. Take notes when getting instructions especially on the day you go home and the plan for recovery after the hospital is discussed.

Choose ONE person to be your main point of contact while you are hospitalized

It is often easier for you and your care team to have one person to call or email with updates. The less time spent updating multiple contacts, the more time they have at the bedside with you.

When deciding who your point of contact should be consider the following:

They should be willing to answer calls from unknown hospital phone numbers.

They should have a working voicemail box for staff to leave messages. Provide this person’s name and phone number to hospital staff.

They should be willing and able to update others on your behalf.

If your friends or loved ones ask how they can help you, these are some suggestions you could provide:

Ask them to provide a ride to or from the hospital!

Ask them if they would be willing to help you get groceries or medications, or help with housekeeping or snow removal once you are home and recovering.

Some hospital units have restrictions on allowing flowers in patient rooms, and depending on room size, other gifts might be better sent to the home instead of the hospital (ie balloons).

Remember that you are your own best advocate when it comes to your care needs and recovery. Ask questions and rely on others for help when you need it. Having a plan in place before surgery will enable you to heal faster and have a smooth recovery!