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What to bring into hospital for Operations/investigations

What to bring in to hospital for operations

This is one of those ones where you don’t want to take too much –like a huge suitcase but then there are things you need to take - as a rough guide I’ve put down the things I think would be good to take and things which you need to consider:

  • Do you need to get someone to feed/ look after your pet

  • Do you need to stop the post

  • Do you need to stop the papers/milk deliveries

Special requirements

If you have any special needs it is a good idea to mention this at your pre-operative visit or ring the ward a week before the surgery is planned so the staff are able to make arrangements: i.e.

  • an interpreter

  • difficulty with mobility requiring specialist equipment/bed
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Nil by Mouth/Fasting

The hospital should give you very clear guidelines with regard to what you can and cannot eat or drink prior to coming in for your operation/investigation. It is very important that you follow these instructions carefully as it has a real impact on your anaesthetic. If you have food or fluid in your stomach it can come back up your throat and go into your lungs where it can cause damage especially if the contents of your stomach are very acidic.


If you are taking medicines, you should continue to take them as usual before you come into hospital; unless your anaesthetist or surgeon has asked you not to.
If you are taking medicine to stop you blood cloting (anticoagulants), aspirin or medicine for diabetes you will need specific instructions.

Do remember to bring with you all the medications that you have been taking and make sure that the nurses and doctors know if you have been taking herbal supplements or vitamins

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Feeling unwell:

If you feel unwell or are suffering form a severe cold when you are due to come into hospital for your operation, please telephone the ward you are due to go to for advice as you may not be fit enough for an anaesthetic.

Major surgery:

  • 2 sets of nightwear/dressing gown

  • Soft shoes or slippers/not slipper sox – the reason for this is anything that is sharp on the floor can penetrate wooly socks and cut your foot

  • Toiletries, toothbrush, toothpaste and soap, sponge /flannel etc

  • A small packet of Tissues and Hand wipes

  • For Ladies- if having a Gynae Operation Sanitary towels

  • For Gentlemen -Shaving items

  • Books/magazines/crosswords/handheld computer games with the sound turned to off. – There is a lot of waiting in hospitals!

  • Any specialist equipment e.g. hearing aids, walking stick, Zimmer frame

  • Your glasses/contact lenses

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Minor op/ over night stay:

  • The same as for a major operation except you won’t need more than one set of nightwear

Day case:

  • You will not need the nightwear as you will get dressed into your own clothes after the procedure is over

  • You can take toiletries if you wish to freshen up after the operation/procedure

  • Something to read- Books/magazines/crosswords/handheld computer games with the sound turned to off.

Hospital wards can be very daunting when you first arrive, and you may feel like a fish out of water. This is to be expected but the nurses are there to help you become comfortable with your new environment. They will sit down with you and discuss your particular care and any special needs you may have. You will be shown around the ward so you can orientate yourself. You will be asked what you would like to be called – and it is alright if you wish to be called MRS/ Mr /Ms ……. And not by your first name just let your nurse know.

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Concerns and worries

If you have any worries or concerns this is the time to voice them-

  • If you have any religious or cultural activities that you will need help

  • If you do not wish to be treated by a member of the opposite sex

  • If you have a religious item of jewellery that cannot be removed this should be mentioned

  • Is there anything in your culture or religion that would be seen as disrespectful that the staff will need to be made aware of?

  • Do you have special dietary requirements?

Relatives and Friends:

If you have a large family please nominate one member of the family as the person the staff can speak to about your condition and then everyone can get updates from that family member.- Patient confidentiality is paramount in hospitals and other members of the family will not be able to be given information about your condition.

Please make sure that any items you take into a hospital are clearly labelled as hospitals will not take responsibility for the loss of any of these items.

It is not advised to take large sums of money or precious jewellery with you to hospital – if you do make sure the nurse takes it to put in a safe locked cupboard and that you get an itemised receipt for it.

If you have any further suggestions of what you found useful to take with you and why please let me know Click here link to open contact page


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