10 ways to cope with long stays in the hospital

April 11, 2018 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health

Being in the hospital for an extended period of time is not easy. First, you may be dealing with a serious health issue that has you concerned, uncomfortable or in pain. You may also miss the comforts of home: familiar meals, clothes and everyday belongings, privacy — and especially your own bed.

You want to get better so you can get out of there, but how do you cope in the meantime? Here are 10 ways to keep your spirits up and make you feel less like a patient during long hospital stays:

  1. Bring something comforting to remind you of home. Have something soft to sleep with from your bedroom, like a pillow or blanket. Pamper yourself by bringing along your favorite pajamas, warm robe, or fuzzy pair of socks or slippers to keep you cozy.
  2. If your diet allows, ask for your favorite food or snack. Your caregiver may be able to bring in your favorite foods. Just be sure to check with your doctor first.
  3. Pack your own toiletries. Ask your caregiver to bring your toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, lip balm or dry shampoo. It’s always nice to use your own things.
  4. Display pictures of your family and friends. Seeing the faces of your loved ones in your room can be a source of motivation and comfort when you are lonely or feeling down.
  5. Do something you enjoy to pass the time. It can get boring in the hospital. Knit, keep a journal, read your favorite book or magazine, watch a movie or comedy show, or try puzzles and adult coloring books.
  6. Keep your cell phone or laptop nearby. Staying up to date with news, email and even social media can help you feel more connected to the world outside. Call your friends too.
  7. Play music. Music can help reduce stress and improve your heart rate and blood pressure. Ask your caregiver to bring you headphones.
  8. Too tired to read? Listen to an audiobook. Reading or listening to a book can be a fun source of entertainment.
  9. Meditate. Meditation can help you reduce stress and cope with the pain and mental strain that come with living with a medical condition.
  10. Get out of bed, with help from a medical professional. Sit in a recliner as much as you can throughout the day. If permitted by your doctor, go for short walks up and down the hallway. The more you can move around, the faster you’ll recover. 

Hospitals have different requirements for what they will allow you to bring. Find out what your hospital’s policies are, and ask your doctor what you can do to make the experience more comfortable. 

While you’re in the hospital, it’s important to ask lots of questions and do what your nurse or physician tells you to do. If your medical team wants you to have daily breathing tests, do them. Their goal is the same as yours — for you to recover as quickly as possible.

Related blogs:

10 ways to beat the blues during treatment




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