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Preparing for a hospital stay

When you visit hospital, you will be one of the following:

  • an outpatient - someone who has an appointment to see a consultant but does not need a bed
  • a day patient - someone who needs a bed for surgery or tests but will not be staying overnight
  • an inpatient - someone who needs a bed and is staying overnight.

If your hospital stay is planned, you should receive an admission letter containing information such as:

  • the time and date of your appointment
  • where to go on the day
  • whether you can eat or drink before your appointment
  • contact details of the relevant hospital department or ward.

As well as thinking about what you want to take with you for your stay in hospital, you should also think about arrangements you may need to make while you are in hospital. Here are some things you may need to think about:

  • make sure your home is safe – turn off electrical appliances, turn off water at the mains and turn your central heating down or off
  • secure your property – check that windows and doors are locked
  • valuables and keys should be placed with people you trust like family, carers or close neighbours
  • arrange for someone you trust to look after your property such as collecting your mail , watering your plants and feeding your pets
  • cancel any deliveries such as milk or newspapers
  • if you have a pet, arrange for them to be looked after by someone close to you or arrange for them to be placed in kennels or catteries

If you have a relative, friend or carer, you may find it helpful to talk to them about what you need to do before, during or after your hospital stay.

To make your stay as comfortable as possible, you should think about what you need while you are in hospital.

Useful Contacts & Information

Royal Mail Logo
The Royal Mail’s Keepsafe service will hold your mail for up to two months and deliver it to your home when you are out of hospital.

Contact Royal Mail on 03457 777 888
Apply online at
Alternatively you can visit your nearest post office

The Cinnamon Trust Logo

The Cinnamon Trust is a national charity that can look after your pet while you are in hospital if you are 60 or over or are in the later stages of a terminal illness (Palliative Care).

This service is free but is limited as the service is dependent on the availability and location of volunteers.

Alternatively, you can contact them on 01736 757 900.

Last updated: 24/02/2023