Resources & Tools
Understand Your Treatment
When preparing to go into the hospital, there are some things you can do to ensure a positive experience. It's important that you and your doctor share an understanding about your upcoming treatment. Talk to your doctor about the goals of your care, the medical procedure, and any restrictions you should know about. The most important thing you can do is ask questions. Studies show that better-informed patients have a higher chance of successful hospital stays.
Here's a list of questions to ask.
- How many doctors will be involved in your treatment?
- If there are multiple steps in your treatment, which doctor will perform which procedure?
- Which doctor will be in charge? What will happen if there's a disagreement about your treatment?
- How often will you see your doctors in the hospital?
- When will the procedure be? When is your doctor available? Be sure your doctor won't be going on vacation anytime soon after your procedure. Discuss with your doctor who will be responsible for your care from start to finish.
- What does your procedure involve?
- What time will it start and how long will it take?
- Where will you recover?
- How long will the anesthesia last?
- How much pain should you expect to have?
- How long will you be in the hospital?
- What medications will you need?
- What is the purpose of each medication?
- What are the side effects of each medication?
- Will any medication cause problems with any of your current medications or drug allergies?
- Will you be able to control your pain medication (for example, through a push-button IV)?
- What is the process if you need a blood transfusion?
- How do you arrange to donate blood for your procedure?
- How do your friends and family members donate blood for your procedure?
- What will happen if your condition gets worse while you're in the hospital?
- What should you do before your procedure?
- What can you expect during your recovery? When will you be back to normal?
While the answers to these questions are often provided to you without asking, sometimes important details are overlooked. Don't be shy about asking for answers to all these questions.