Prepare Yourself Emotionally

You may experience a level of anxiety prior to surgery. A good way to prepare for surgery is by practicing meditation/relaxation exercises. Relaxation techniques can involve things such as music therapy, deep breathing exercises, use of visualization and imaging techniques, thinking positively, art therapy, or getting a massage the day before your procedure.

Another way to help with emotional preparedness is to make a plan for managing pain post-surgery. Discuss this with your surgeon prior to surgery and be sure to ask any questions you may have. Asking questions and taking the steps to better prepare yourself ahead of time can help you feel more at ease. It's important to review and follow any instructions provided by your physician. Also, be sure to share any concerns with your family or support person.

Bring Your Medications

When you go to the hospital – whether for an emergency or a scheduled admission – it’s important to bring your medications or a list of your medications with you. Doctors and nurses need to know what medicines you currently take to provide the best, safest care.

You should be prepared to inform the hospital about prescribed medications you take, as well as over-the-counter drugs and supplements, such as aspirin, cold relief products and vitamins. You may bring the actual medicine bottles in a bag, a picture of the labels or an up-to-date list of your medications. If you bring your actual medicine, be sure to include the bottles with labels, and not just a pill box, so doctors can see doses and other information.

If you recently stayed in the hospital and were given discharge papers, you should bring those, too. Discharge papers include a summary of your diagnosis and the care provided during your hospital stay, as well as medications and follow-up instructions.

Why this is Important

During your hospital visit, your doctor may need to adjust the doses of your medicines, or stop certain drugs and begin new ones. Also, there can sometimes be interactions between medications, or you may have prescriptions that have expired. Your doctor can look at the medications you take in relation to your current health needs to determine the best, most up-to-date care. This is called medication reconciliation. Having up-to-date information about medications can help doctors tremendously. They can use this information for their patients’ benefit and better healthcare.

Remember to bring:

  • Prescription medications you currently take, including dosage information
  • Over-the-counter medications and supplements you take, such as vitamins and aspirin
  • Discharge papers if you recently stayed in the hospital