Tips for Your Hospital Stay

Pictured: Allowing us to help you get up, even for a short walk, is important for your safety.

Staying in the hospital, even for a few days, can be unsettling. It’s not your own bed, you’re away from your loved ones, and when you wake each morning, nothing in the room looks remotely familiar. In addition, some hospital procedures and rules can be a source of frustration if you’re unprepared for them. Whether your inpatient stay is short-term or longer, follow these tips to avoid surprises and make your time with us more comfortable:

What to Bring

Pajamas. Bring your favorite ones or treat yourself to new! Choose PJs that button down the front to accommodate IV lines and access to ports.

Loose-fitting shirts for easy dressing and access to IV lines and ports.

Hoodie, sweatshirt or light house jacket to wear if you feel cold. (Ones with front zippers or buttons are best.)

Slippers with hard bottoms to protect your feet.

Photos of loved ones to make your room more familiar.

Commonly used phone numbers to keep in touch with the outside world.

Earbuds or headphones to connect directly to the TV speaker. You’ll hear your show better and reduce hospital noise. Check out channels 100-150 to listen to your favorite music genre.

What to Know

We interrupt you often, even during the night. We’re very sorry, but we must take your vital signs and monitor how much you’re eating, drinking and excreting throughout the day and night. (We keep a close eye on how much is going in and coming out.)

Fresh flowers may be banned. Because we are a cancer hospital, many of our patients suffer a compromised immune system, placing them at high risk for infections from bacteria, viruses and fungi. Unfortunately, fresh flowers, while beautiful, can harbor bacteria and foster an environment in which they grow. Tell your loved ones to check with the nursing staff before sending flowers.

Don’t flush the toilet until your nurse comes to check. We collect and assess your stool and urine frequently, and the doses of some of your medications are based on these assessments.

Room temperature can fluctuate due to the air-filtration system intended to protect your environment. You can always ask us for another blanket, or for help with putting on a sweatshirt or house jacket.

What to Do

Choose a password that loved ones will need to say in order to be given any information about you over the phone, and share this with the charge nurse on the unit.

Use the soap we provide. You may be bathed with special antimicrobial cloths (called CHG cloths), which provide your skin with 24-hour protection against bacteria. Some store-bought soaps deactivate the antimicrobial component, placing you at risk for infection. Upon initial application, your skin can feel sticky, but this goes away after 15 minutes of drying time.

Before you get up on your own, call for help! It’s not a burden; it’s what we’re here for. We prefer that you call the nurses station, especially if you wish to get up. So many medications for cancer treatment can make you feel dizzy and unsteady, and we want to help you to prevent a fall.