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Going into hospital

You usually go into hospital on the day of your operation or the day before.

What to take with you

Take in:

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

Time in hospital

You’ll be in hospital for 1 to 2 weeks. It’s a good idea to make sure you bring in enough clothes for that time. Or have someone who can bring changes of clothes for you while you’re in hospital.

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 into the ward.

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 or friends to phone to find out how you are.

Friends and family can visit but they will need to know when the visiting times are. Most wards also limit the number of people by your bedside. So your visitors will need to bear this in mind and plan ahead so they don't all visit at the same time.

On some days you may not feel like seeing anyone. So it's sensible for visitors to check before they set out. 

Your visitors must be well when they come to see you as the ward staff may ask them to leave if they are unwell. This is to protect you and the other patients around you.

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: 
18 Jun 2019
  • Healthcare-associated infections: prevention and control
    National Institute of Health and Care Excellence, 2011

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