The right planning of a hospital stay

Inpatient treatment in a hospital cannot always be avoided. A suitable emergency plan ensures that the time in hospital remains as stress-free as possible for oneself as a patient, but also for one's own family.

An inpatient stay in a hospital is a less than pleasant affair for most patients. Planning ahead at least helps to mitigate or even completely avoid organizational, but also personal problems that a hospital stay can bring with it. Two guides can help in this regard.

Two brochures offered free of charge explain, among other things, the measures patients can take themselves to ensure smooth and stress-free inpatient treatment at the hospital. The new 55-page "Hospital Guide," which can be downloaded from the Federal Ministry of Health, is particularly comprehensive. Among other things, it provides information on the rights and obligations of a hospital patient, for example, the extent to which patients can choose a hospital and what the individual has to pay for a hospital stay.

In addition, there is a separate chapter on how to prepare for a hospital stay. The downloadable 12-page checklist from Weisse Liste gemeinnutzige GmbH, a project of the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the umbrella organizations of major patient and consumer organizations, also contains concrete tips on what to consider during a stay in a hospital.

When away from home

Difficulties that can arise due to your own absence from home can often be avoided, for example, by sensible advance planning. Among other things, it is important to specify who will take care of the children, household, pets and/or houseplants and/or empty the mailbox in this case. Early on, ask eligible relatives, friends and/or neighbors if they would take over these tasks in case of emergency.

Under certain conditions, single parents and families with children under the age of twelve can apply for pro-rata coverage of the costs of household help from the statutory health insurance fund. One criterion is that a parent with statutory health insurance must go to the hospital and no other person living in the same household can care for the child during this time.

If you plan to stay in the hospital, you should inform your family, friends and neighbors as well as your employer in good time about the time and duration of your stay in the hospital. Also, postpone or cancel private and/or professional appointments that fall during this period.

So that formalities do not become a problem

For smooth registration at the clinic, you should carry your ID card, medical hospitalization card and health insurance card for those with statutory health insurance or address and membership number of private health insurance for those with private health insurance.

Among other things, the name and address of the family doctor are also important, as well as existing medical documents, such as X-rays, findings, X-ray, vaccination and allergy passports, but also a list of medications that have been taken regularly so far, as well as previous illnesses and operations. As a rule, the contact details of a close relative or an authorized person are also requested.

Anyone who has a living will, which specifies, among other things, which medical measures are to be carried out or refrained from in the event that one is no longer able to communicate this oneself as a patient, should point this out during the application process.

What personal items to bring

When it comes to the personal items you want to take with you to a hospital stay, you should limit yourself to the essentials. For a week's inpatient stay, experts recommend, among other things, bringing sufficient clothing such as underwear, socks, nightwear and tracksuits, a bathrobe, a pair of slippers and a few washcloths and towels.

Also take the personal care and hygiene items used in everyday life, from toothbrushes and hair shampoo to shaving utensils, combs, skin cream and hair dryers, as well as personal aids such as glasses, a walking aid or hearing aid. Whether a smartphone may be used in the patient's room, for example, for making phone calls or surfing the Internet, should be checked with the respective hospital.

In some clinics, special prepaid cards must be purchased for phone and TV use. In most hospitals there is also a kiosk where newspapers or consumables can be bought. That's why it makes sense to take small change with you. On the other hand, you should refrain from taking expensive jewelry, large sums of money, and car and front door keys with you. If this is not possible, one should ask the clinic administration for a safekeeping for the valuables.

Cost protection and more comfort

People with statutory health insurance who would like to be treated optimally and accommodated comfortably as a hospital patient without financial risk can protect themselves accordingly with a supplementary hospital insurance policy. However, it is important that such a policy is taken out even before a hospital stay is planned.

That's because most hospitals offer optional services, such as accommodation in a single room instead of a shared room and/or treatment by a chief physician, for an additional cost. Depending on what has been agreed in a supplementary hospital policy, the private health insurer will cover the additional costs for such and other optional services.

If you are a patient and also have hospital per diem insurance, you will receive a pre-determined amount for each day you were an inpatient. With it it can among other things the costs additionally resulting from the hospital stay like the legally prescribed hospital additional payment of ten euro per day for maximally 28 days meet.

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