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Going into hospital

Find out about what you need to take in, what to expect and how to prepare to make it less stressful.

You’ll probably go into hospital on the day of your operation.

What to take with you

Take in:

  • nightgowns or pyjamas
  • underwear
  • dressing gown
  • slippers
  • contact lenses, solution, glasses and a case
  • towel
  • wash bag - flannel, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap
  • sanitary towels
  • small amount of money
  • medicines you normally take
  • magazines, books
  • headphones and music to listen to
  • a tablet or smartphone for web browsing, entertainment and phone calls

Time in hospital

Most people are in hospital for about 3 to 4 days. The length of your stay depends on the type of operation you have and your recovery.

Family and friends

Your family or friends can go in with you to help you settle in. You’ll need to check the time of your operation and when the visiting times are.

The time it takes to do the operation depends on the type of surgery you have. Most operations take a few hours. The nurse will give you numbers for your family to phone to find out how you are.

Before you go into hospital

It’s worth sorting out a few things before you go into hospital. These might include:

  • work
  • care for children or other loved ones
  • care for your pets
  • care for your house
  • cancelling your milk or newspapers
Last reviewed: 
06 Apr 2016
  • The Royal Marsden Manual of Clinical Nursing Procedures, 9th edition
    L Dougherty and S Lister (Editors)
    Wiley-Blackwell, 2015

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About Cancer generously supported by Dangoor Education since 2010.