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
  • 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

Most people are in hospital for about 10 to 14 days. 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

Preparing yourself before your operation

1 to 2 weeks before your surgery, you’ll have an appointment to prepare you for your operation.

You can find out about leg and breathing exercises to help you recover after your operation. Learning these before you go into hospital means that you’ll know what to do afterwards.

Your dietitian is a key member of the team who cares for you. You are likely to see them from when you are diagnosed, during treatment and afterwards. 

Before your surgery you might need to build yourself up. Your dietitian can tell you what you can do to make sure you are as ready as possible for your operation.

Last reviewed: 
05 May 2016
  • Preoperative Preparation for Esophageal Surgery
    Jessica Scott Donington
    Thoracic Surgery Clinics, Volume 15, Issue 2, 277 – 285.

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