Unorthodox Tips for Surviving a Hospital Stay

Most of the time when a doctor prescribes care for a hospital patient, it involves tests, drugs and other medical interventions. But one physician, self-identified as the Happy Hospitalist, has some decidedly less clinical advice for hospital patients and their loved ones.

Hospitalists are physicians who care only for inpatients; generally, they do not have a private patient practice. We’ve written about this medical specialty before, and although their reviews are mixed, hospitalists are in a unique position to provide perspective about the culture of a hospital.

Courtesy of, herewith are some of HH’s tips for minimizing the trauma and discomfort of being in the hospital.

  • Request a hospitalist. They get you out quicker and less sick (which doesn’t necessarily mean healthy).
  • Bring an accurate, current medication list with you. You’re vulnerable to hospital errors if your doctor gave you medication you haven’t taken in months or if you miss medications that haven’t been updated in who knows how long.
  • Write down all your questions in advance. Your doctor visits your room only once a day (Medicare pays only for daily visits), so unanswered questions must wait until the following day.
  • Be patient. No one knows when tests are scheduled to be performed, not even the doctor doing the procedure.
  • You’ll be told things that contradict each other multiple times a day. That’s normal among doctors and nurses with their own perspective and experience. There is no right answer to many of your questions. Choose the answer that makes you feel the best, and believe it.
  • When you are admitted, request the highest hospital floor for your room. Most doctors take the elevator to the top and work their way down during rounds. If you don’t want to be last patient seen on rounds, try to be at the top.
  • Bring a laptop computer or request one from the hospital. Hospitals all have free wireless these days and some provide a laptop if you ask.
  • Bring your own pillow!
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