how to prepare fo rsurgery

How to Prepare for Your First Surgery

Hospital visits can be intimidating, especially if you find out you need to have surgery. There are many details that need to be figured out and probably many questions you want answered. Going in for surgery can be overwhelming but following this checklist can help reduce some stress.

What to do before surgery

  • Pack a bag – It’s important to bring your insurance card and any other vital documents you might need. Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothes the day of your surgery and pack extra clothes to wear post-operation. If you have glasses, wear them instead of contacts, so it’s less of a hassle before your surgery.
  • Plan a ride to and from the hospital or facility– Depending on how severe your surgical procedure is, find a family member or a friend to drive you there. It may be safer for someone to drive you instead of driving yourself home, especially if you were under anesthesia.
  • Ask your doctor – Make sure you are following all instructions provided before your procedure. For example, most surgeries require you to not eat or drink anything for a certain period of time beforehand. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor anything you are wary of or confused about.
  • Meet your surgical team – Your surgical team will introduce themselves, review the procedure, go over risks and benefits of the procedure and will ask you for your permission to do the surgery.
  • Lab tests – Depending on the type of surgery you are having, the doctor may need to do a few more tests, such as scans or blood work.
  • Bring current medications – Either bring the medications you are taking at the time or write them all down before going to your surgery. The doctor will want to know what you are taking before sending you into surgery.

What to do after being discharged from the hospital

  • Doctor’s orders – Be sure to follow the after care plan your doctor has laid out for you. It is important to follow directions, so you don’t end up back at the doctor for avoidable reasons.
  • Medications – Check the prescriptions your doctor gives you and make sure you follow the proper medication routine.
  • Rest – This is a very crucial factor after having surgery. Your body has been put through a lot, so taking time to rest is very important for your health.

Understanding the bill and your insurance

  • More than one bill – Sometimes patients are sent more than one bill from different care providers. For example, patients can be billed for the professional physician care along with other services, such as laboratory testing. Always double check your bill to make sure everything looks right before you pay it.
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Online Member account – If you’re a Blue Cross member, register for an online account so you can access your claim history and learn what services your health insurance plan covers.
  •  Understanding claims – A health insurance claim is sent to your insurer by your health care provider to explain the types of services that were provided to the patient before insurance covers it. If you’re a BCBSM member, you can find more information about the status of your claims by logging into your member account. Within your member account you can also find your Explanation of Benefits (EOB), which will help you keep track of your plan use, including services you have received, the amount insurance covers and the amount you paid.
  • Procedure at a hospital vs. outpatient facility – Depending on the type of surgical procedure needed, an outpatient facility might be a great option if you are looking for a lower cost. Outpatient facilities tend to cost less because other hospital charges are not included.

Surgical procedures may be overwhelming and a bit scary, so make sure you are ready to go beforehand. Asking questions is probably one of the most important things you can do when preparing for surgery. If you don’t know the answer to something, ask your doctor.

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