Prepare for aHealth Visit 

Preparing for Your Hospital Visit

A little advance planning can keep you from feeling overwhelmed and make your hospital visit go more smoothly.

Plan Ahead

Confirm when you should arrive. Check on whether you’re allowed to eat or drink before your appointment. Also, make sure to arrange for someone to drive you home – even if you are having an outpatient or routine procedure.

What to Bring

Insurance and related information, including:

  • All insurance cards, including Medicare or Medicaid cards, if applicable
  • A list of your current medications. If you are staying overnight, bring any medications you are currently taking, in the original bottle. 
  • A list of any allergies
  • Photo identification (driver’s license, military or government-issued card)
  • Birth certificate copy for minors
  • Employer information for worker's compensation claims
  • Information on the person responsible for the bill
  • Automobile insurance card, if your visit is the result of an automobile accident
  • Personal information such as phone numbers, addresses and emergency contact information
  • Your doctor's full name, address and phone number
  • Preauthorization, referrals and/or any other information about why you are at the hospital
  • A copy of your advance directive
  • Your health history, including past surgeries, hospitalizations and allergies
Personal items, including:

  • Hearing aids and extra batteries
  • Assistive devices, such as a walker or a cane
  • Shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, denture cup, comb or brush, shaver, lip balm and lotion
  • Slippers and a robe
  • A phone calling card if you think you'll need to make long-distance calls
  • Reading material, such as books and magazines

What Not to Bring

  • Valuables, such as money, credit cards, jewelry (including body piercings), purse or wallet
  • Cell phones
  • Computers or video games
  • Food (we cannot store food for you)

Preparing for Your Doctor Appointment

You’re at the center of your health care team and your doctors are valuable partners. These tips can help you make the most of your time with your doctor.

Before You See Your Doctor

If it’s your first visit to this doctor, you’ll want to bring:

  • Copies of your medical records. Include test results, lab reports and letters from doctors you’ve seen in the past.
  • Your insurance information and a list of medications you’re taking, including prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, herbal products and vitamins, and the name and number of your pharmacy. You can also bring the medicine bottles.
Also make sure to:

  • Jot down any medical symptoms you have, when they appeared and anything you've done that's made you feel better or worse.
  • Note times and numbers of home tests, such as your temperature.
  • List any allergies, especially those concerning medicine or food.
  • Review your family’s history of serious illnesses or surgeries. “Family” refers to your parents, grandparents on both sides and siblings.
  • Review your diet and exercise habits, as well as your recent sleeping habits.
  • Make a note of any other health concerns you might want to discuss.
  • Think about what you want from your doc on this particular visit.

During Your Appointment

Ask your doctor:

  • What his or her diagnosis is.
  • If he or she will be ordering any tests. If so, ask what he or she is hoping to find out.
  • If he or she recommends a treatment plan and how you can prevent a repeat occurrence.
  • Before you leave, find out if you need to call for results, if your doctor will call you or if you need to make a follow-up appointment.
  • If you get a prescription, ask if it has any special instructions or side effects.

After Your Appointment

  • Follow your doctor's advice.
  • Call your doctor's office if you don't understand any of the instructions, if you feel worse, if you experience worrisome side effects from any medication or if other problems appear.
  • Make and keep any recommended follow-up appointments.