A Planned Hospital Admission - What to Expect

Being admitted to hospital can be a stressful experience whether you are there for treatment or an operation, but knowing what to expect can help allay your worries to some extent.

A hospital admission can be as a day patient or an inpatient where you stay at least one night.

Once you hospital appointment is booked you should receive a letter with further details. 

This letter should tell you:- 

  • what ward you will be admitted to, 
  • the date and time of admission, 
  • the contact details if you need to change the admission date,
  • the name of your consultant, 
  • and anything you will have to bring with you. 
Depending on why you are being admitted you may have to refrain from eating and drinking but this will be clearly mentioned in your letter, as well as any urine or stool samples they may ask you to bring.

What to take into hospital 

Take clothes for the length of your potential stay. The NHS is encouraging people to bring day clothes as well as night clothes as they feel people should be in day clothes as soon as they feel well enough to move around as this can aid recovery.

You may want to bring some money for snacks and drinks between mealtimes, and for magazines or newspapers. If you do not have a mobile phone you may want to bring change for the pay phone that almost all hospitals will have. Take your mobile phone if you have one and something to keep you entertained. There may be certain areas you can use your phone due to interfering with equipment and to keep the noise levels down so check with a member of staff. 

Any valuables and jewellery should be left at home.

On admission

You make want to take a friend or family member for support. Take your admission letter and any medication you are on. You will see an admission member of staff, usually a nurse who will take your personal and medical details, and then you will see a doctor. The doctor will examine you and question you about your health and make notes in your medical records.  

Your rights

You have certain rights on admission to hospital, as out by the Care Quality Commission. The main rights are below:-

The right to be treated with dignity and respect.
The right to patient-centred care that meets your requirements and preferences. 
The right to be kept safe and to be safeguarded from abuse.
That you must have enough food and drink to keep you in good health.
That the staff must be suitably trained and experience to provide the care required.
The right to complain about your care if needed and for a robust system to be in place to investigate complaints. 
And also in most cases, you have the right to access your medical records for free. 

You will be given a treatment of care once in hospital which should be documented in your medical notes and in a care plan which you should have access to. 

Consent to treatment

For some procedures, including operations, you will be asked to sign a consent form. It's up to you whether you give your consent for a treatment. You should ask as much about the treatment as possible before giving your consent so you can give an informed decision. You can withdraw your consent at any time. There are some occasions where consent isn't needed, such as if it is an emergency treatment to save someone's life, or the person has a severe mental illness that lacks the capacity to consent to treatment.  


Each hospital will have their own discharge procedure.  If you need complex care on discharge you will have a documented plan of care explaining this fully. This should include who to contact in an emergency or things not being quite right.

On discharge, you may be given medication to take for 7 days, and a letter should be sent to your GP explaining your care. You will need to make a GP appointment before your medication runs out. 

You may need to get a sick note so make sure you see the charge nurse in charge of the ward to help you do this and complete any forms.

Make sure you have everything you need for your recovery at home, maybe a friend or relative can stay with you or see you on a regular basis to check that you are recovering well. 

When things go wrong

The majority of hospital admissions go without a problem, however, in rare cases, things can go wrong. If things go wrong, speak to a member of staff and voice your concerns. Try to find out the facts of the case to understand why things have taken this turn. If you feel that there has been medical negligence or you are unhappy with your treatment there are things you can do.

PALSthe patient advice and liaison service run by the NHS offers confidential advice, support and information on any health-related matters you may have. They provide a point of contact for patients, their families and their carers and give you advice on the complaints procedure if you want to proceed further. For more information check out this article by the Citizens Advice Bureau.

I hope this article has helped provide an insight into what to expect on a planned hospital admission. 

*collaborative post


  1. Superb informative posts. I had a planned op in January and it all went well, I was very impressed with the NHS. Mich x

    1. I am so glad that everything went well and you were impressed with the NHS.

  2. This is such a good explanation of what to expect. I haven't been admitted to a hospital since i was a child but it's good to know what to expect as I can't remember that time.

  3. This is so informative! It is hard to know what to expect sometimes and what to take.

  4. This is indeed a very helpful article! No one likes to go to the hospital and I understand it can be extremely stressful. My son wasn't well few months ago and had to be hospitalised for a week - those were the most terrible days of this year.