Preparing for Admission

When you are getting admitted to a hospital for a scheduled treatment, there is a lot to consider. Having a checklist of what to bring, as well as a list of special instructions from your doctor, can help you stay organized.

What to Bring

Important Documents

Please bring the following items with you when you are being admitted to one of the Johns Hopkins hospitals:

  • Your hospital ID card, if you received one on a prior visit. (Some Johns Hopkins facilities issue a card with each visit.)
  • Your health insurance cards for all of your insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Personal identification, such as a driver’s license
  • Referral and/or authorization forms, if required by your insurance provider
  • A copy of your advance directive/living will and medical orders for life sustaining treatment (MOLST) if you have these documents
  • Money for parking and payment for services such as deductibles and co-payments that may be collected at the time of admission (send unused cash and credit cards home with a family member after you are admitted)

Other Records:

  • Your medical records, x-rays, or previous test results (if your doctor has requested them)
  • List of your medical and surgical history with dates and procedures you've had
  • List of your primary care physician and specialists (to communicate and coordinate your care plan)
  • The name and phone number of your health care partner if you have one

A List of Medications

Please do not bring your medications to the hospital. Instead, please bring a list of all medications, including information about dosage, administration times and any allergies. You will likely be asked about your medications several times by different personnel the day of your procedure. Keeping an accurate, up-to-date list handy can be helpful. Download this template to record your medications.

If you have brought your medications, please send them home with a family member or ask our staff to have them sent to the Security Department.

Your Personal Items

Please bring only essential items to the hospital and leave jewelry, keys, watches, extra cash and other valuables at home. Though the hospitals are not responsible for lost or stolen items, we will do our best to work with you to safeguard your belongings while you are here. Some hospital rooms have a safe; ask your nurse if one is available.

If you choose, nursing staff may be able to itemize any valuable that you cannot send home and store them with Security. When you are preparing to leave the hospital, our staff will contact Security to return your valuables.

Here are some more tips on what to bring:

  • Toiletries and personal hygiene items
  • Comfortable, loose fitting clothes, including sleepwear
  • Vision, hearing, dental or breathing aids, such as glasses, contact lenses, dentures or a C-PAP machine, along with their storage cases. Check with your doctor if any of them should not be worn during your procedure.
  • Personal electronics, such as laptops, tablets, phones and media players with headphones.

Radios, hair dryers, fans, heaters or electrical appliances are not permitted for safety reasons. It may also be best to remove all jewelry including body piercings and wedding rings, wigs and hair accessories, and leave these items at home.

Social Determinants of Health Screening

All patients who are admitted to the hospital and are 18 years of age and above will be asked questions about the five social determinants of health: food insecurity, transportation needs, housing instability, utility difficulties and interpersonal safety. Learn more about this screening:

When You Are Having Surgery

When you are preparing for a planned surgery, you might have some extra steps you may need to complete before your admission.

Your surgeon will require a complete history and physical exam from your primary care doctor. Other tests such as an EKG, chest X-ray and blood test may be required, also.

Some hospitals have a pre-surgery screening center that coordinates all of your required testing. At other hospitals, you may be responsible for contacting your primary care doctor, lab or imaging center, and following your surgeon’s directions for sending the results within the requested time period.

Pre-Operative Mind-Body Program

Offered at all of our hospitals, this program includes guided visualization and deep relaxation to help one prepare for surgery and reduce anxiety and pain.

Before Your Procedure

  • Inform your surgeon of any medications you are currently taking.
  • Contact your surgeon if there is any change in your health.
  • Prefill any new prescriptions your surgeon has prescribed.
  • Shower the evening before your procedure using an anti-bacterial soap and complete any other cleansing or preparation instructions your surgeon has requested.
  • Follow your surgeon’s instructions about eating and drinking before your surgery. You can brush your teeth, but avoid swallowing water or toothpaste.
  • Do not apply make-up, cologne, body lotions or powders.

Arriving at the Hospital

On the day of your admission, please be mindful of your appointment time and give yourself plenty of time to get to the hospital or treatment center, park, locate the correct medical building and register at the front desk.

For clinic and outpatient visits, please try to arrive 15 to 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment to allow for registration. For inpatient procedures, please arrive by the specific time requested by our admitting staff or your physician’s office.

Arriving With a Service Animal

We strive to make sure our patients and visitors are comfortable. If arriving with a service animal, here is what you need to know when staying with us.