What to expect for your surgery or hospital stay

Your health and safety are the top priorities of your health care team, today and every day. Every step possible is being taken to help keep you safe and reduce the spread of COVID-19. Already high standards of care are being enhanced to increase safety. Please review the following information before you come to the hospital.


The hospital visitor guidelines have changed because of COVID-19. To protect the health and safety of you and your health care team, no visitors are allowed to come with you to the hospital.

Please review the hospital and clinic visitor guidelines. There are limited exceptions to these guidelines. Please talk with your health care team if you have any questions or concerns.

It can be difficult to not have someone with you, but your health care team is working hard to help reduce your exposure to the virus while caring for you.

Before your surgery or procedure

You may have one visitor come with you to the hospital. Your visitor must stay in the waiting room and cannot go into any patient care areas.

You will need to have a COVID-19 test 4 to 6 days before you come to the hospital for your surgery or procedure. Your health care team will help you schedule this test when you schedule your surgery or procedure.

After your test, you will need to self-quarantine until you have your surgery or procedure. This will help reduce your risk of getting COVID-19.

What to bring to the hospital

Along with the items your health care team asked you to bring, please bring the following to the hospital:

  • a smartphone, tablet, laptop or other personal electronic device that will allow you to communicate with your loved ones (Please label the device with your name and contact information.)
  • a charger for your device (Please label the charger with your name and contact information.)
  • phone numbers and email addresses of loved ones
  • a current list of your medicines
  • clean clothing you will wear home
  • a few favorite activities to provide comfort and distraction during your stay (reading or writing materials, games).

You may also bring your own masks to the hospital.

Important: To help maintain privacy, personal electronic devices are not allowed on mental health units.

Cloth masks or face coverings

Please wear a cloth mask or face covering from home when you come to the hospital. It should:

  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of your face
  • be secured with ties or ear loops
  • include multiple layers of fabric
  • allow for breathing without restriction

If you are not able to bring a mask from home, you will be given one to wear.

Important: Do not place masks on children younger than age 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, or who is unconscious, incapacitated or not able to remove the mask without help.

When you arrive at the hospital

  • You will be greeted when you arrive and asked a few questions to help determine your risk of having COVID-19.
  • All staff will be wearing masks.
  • Hand sanitizer is located at all building entrances to encourage everyone to have good hand hygiene.
  • You and anyone accompanying you will be asked to wear a mask when in hallways or when a hospital staff member enters you room (even if you don’t have symptoms).
  • Many changes have been made in the lobbies and seating areas to practice physical distancing:
    • Floor markers will remind you and other people to stay at least six feet apart while waiting in line to check in.
    • Plexiglas shields or extended spacing has been added between you and check in staff.
    • Waiting rooms have been rearranged so you will not be in close contact with other people. You may also have the option to wait in your car.
  • Our already high standards of cleanliness have been enhanced for your safety. High-touch surface areas and public spaces throughout the hospital are deep cleaned and disinfected.
  • If you are at risk for having COVID-19, the next steps of your care will be decided by the department where you will be receiving care.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Hospital staff will be wearing masks, face shields and other personal protective equipment.
  • You will be asked to wear a mask when in the hallways or when a hospital staff member enters your room.

Communicating and interacting with your health care team

Your health care team will take special steps to help reduce exposing you and them to the virus.

  • Your health care team may communicate with you using a tablet or other electronic device.
  • You may get a phone call to let you know that your nurse is coming into your room. This will allow him or her to get any equipment or supplies you may need without extra visits to your room.
  • If you need anything, you may still press the call button in your room to communicate with your nurse or hospital staff. It may take longer than usual for your nurse to enter your room. He or she may need to change or put on personal protective equipment.
  • Your health care team may group together care visits that might have normally been done on separate visits. For example, your nurse may check your vital signs, give you medicine, change a dressing and go over education during one visit.
    • This will reduce extra visits to your room and limit exposure for everyone.
    • This will not be done if it will have a negative impact on your care.

Important: If you need an interpreter during your hospital stay, this service will be offered electronically instead of in person.

Communicating with your family

It is important to keep your family updated about your care because of the current hospital and clinic visitor guidelines.

Please give your nurse the name and phone number for one person who can serve as your family’s spokesperson, along with what time of day he or she prefers to be contacted. The hospital staff will do their best to accommodate that preference.

Please ask family members to limit their calls to the hospital. Hospital staff are often in personal protective equipment and are not always able to answer the phone.

Your hospital floor and room

  • There may be air filters running on your floor. These can make it nosier during your stay. Earplugs are available if needed.
  • Our already high standards of cleanliness have been enhanced for your safety. High-touch areas and public spaces throughout the hospital are deep cleaned and disinfected.
  • If there is an increase in people needing to be in the hospital, some rooms may be made into double rooms to add beds.
    • This will allow hospital staff to care for more people.
    • The beds will not be in close contact.
    • If it has been confirmed that you do not have COVID-19, you would only share a room with another person who has been confirmed not to have COVID-19.
  • If you need to change rooms, the phone number used by your family to call you will also change.

Getting ready to leave the hospital (discharge)

  • At the end of your hospital stay, you will receive discharge instructions. Be sure you review and understand the information on your discharge instruction sheet. Please ask your nurse or doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
  • Your health care team will review your discharge instruction sheet with your loved one in the hospital lobby or by phone.
  • Tell the person who is driving you home to park at the front entrance of the hospital. Ask him or her to avoid the Emergency Department entrance.