Resource Guide for Family Caregivers
Preparing for a scheduled hospital stay

Being part of the care team is an important role for caregivers when the care receiver is hospitalized. (See Section 5.) Your role as advocate may be crucial to the success of the hospital stay as well as to discharge planning, especially if the care receiver is emotionally or mentally compromised.

Similar to emergency hospital admissions, prepare to take the following items for a planned hospital stay:

  • An up-to-date recorded health history(including any allergies), all medications, over-the-counter drugs, herbal remedies, vitamins, etc. currently being taken by the care receiver
  • Enduring Power of Attorney papers or Representation Agreement for Health Care decision-making (or Advance Directives if the care recipient is entering hospital from a residential facility)
  •  A contact number for hospital staff
  • The care receiver’s care card number
  • The care receiver’s glasses, hearing and walking aids

For the care receiver’s comfort while in hospital, consider taking the following:

  • loose, warm, comfortable, and washable clothes that are easy to get on and off (i.e. track suits) labelled with the care recipient’s name
  • basic toiletries
  • a bit of cash for the telephone or gift shop
  • non-slip slippers
  • a warm housecoat
  • reading material or crafts

Do not take credit cards or wear jewelry of any significant value or sentiment.

In planning ahead, take into consideration arrangements for pet and/or plant care, emptying the fridge of perishable food, having mail and papers collected, and pre- paying any bills.

Upon admission to hospital you or the care receiver will be required to sign a Treatment Consent Form authorizing hospital staff to care for the care receiver and provide emergency intervention should that be necessary. This document should be read carefully to ensure that it is entirely understandable before you sign it.

If surgery or other specialized treatment is required, a consent form outlining the surgery or procedure detail will also need to be signed. This also should be read carefully to ensure that it correctly reflects what the physician stated should be done.

Throughout the hospitalization the care receiver (or you if you are designated to act on his or her behalf) should raise questions about procedures and treatments whenever anything unexpected occurs. Unless there is a question, staff will provide care, assuming consent.

Therefore, you both should be clear about the treatment that is to be received in the hospital and have had any questions answered ahead of time, including:

  • purpose of the treatment and expected outcomes
  • risks and benefits
  • any concerns (all concerns are valid)