Going into hospital

You usually go into hospital on the day of your operation or you might go in the night 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

The length of your stay depends on the type of operation you have and your recovery.

Family and friends

Before you go into hospital, it might be worth checking:

  • whether the ward is allowing visitors
  • if they have set visiting times
  • the best number for friends and family to phone, to find out how you are

The letter you receive before your operation may contain this information. But if not, you can phone the ward or hospital reception to find out.

You can use your mobile phone in hospital. But there may be some time before and after your operation when you won’t have your mobile nearby. And you may not feel like talking.

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

Going home after surgery

Some people go home quite soon after surgery these days. It is important that you don’t do too much and make yourself very tired. Your nurse can give you advice on exercises you can do at home to help build up your strength. 

You will need someone to take you home and stay with you overnight if you have day surgery. For a longer stay in hospital, it's helpful if a friend or relative could take you home, if possible.

Last reviewed: 
30 Jul 2021
Next review due: 
30 Jul 2024
  • Cancer and its Management  (7th edition)
    J Tobias and D Hochhauser
    Wiley Blackwell, 2015

  • The Royal Marsden Manual of Clinical Nursing Procedures (10th edition)
    S Lister, J Hofland and H Grafton 
    Wiley Blackwell, 2020

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