Many people with diabetes worry about having to go to the hospital for a non-diabetes related problem. Some are concerned about whether they will get their medications and meals on time. Even though the hospital care team will provide appropriate meals, test and monitor glucose levels and have fast-acting glucose on hand if needed, you are used to taking care of yourself and having someone else do it can be unnerving.
Preparing yourself physically and mentally for the hospital will help make your stay easier. Just as an expectant woman who is going to the hospital to have her baby packs her bags and arranges what she needs ahead of time, you should prepare for your visit. Here are some things you may want to take:
1. A personal supply of fast-acting sugar, glucose tablets or glucose gel.
2. A meter and supplies.
3. Warm socks and slippers. Hospitals always seem cooler and feet can get chilled.
4. Your insulin and/or diabetes pills, although the hospital may insist on its own medication.
5. Ketostix for checking ketones.
6. Your MedicAlert bracelet or other medical identification.
Most importantly, you need to take a basic understanding of the adjustments you should expect during your hospital stay.
TIMING: Unless you are having emergency surgery, you will be given a date and time to check into the hospital. While most tests won’t alter your diabetes care, usually you won’t be allowed food or snacks after midnight before the tests. The long the fast, the higher your blood glucose will be, since the liver will release stored sugar. So, the earlier your doctor can schedule tests or procedures, the better.
GOING HOME: Before you leave the hospital, make sure you write down any medications or general care activities required, including contact numbers of any home care service if you need them.
The primary focus of your stay in the hospital should be to take care of what you went in for. By adjusting your diabetes management plan carefully, long-term problems with your diabetes control should not be a complication of your stay in the hospital.
Remember, if you have questions or concerns about diabetes, talk to us at Parkway Pharmacy. As a center of diabetes care, we offer the most comprehensive line of products and information available to help you better manage and “live well” with diabetes.