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UF Health Shands Hospital Patient Guide: Preparing for your stay
Prior to arriving at the hospital, you may be required to follow special instructions given to you by your physician or healthcare provider. It is important that you follow these instructions and any pre-operation guidelines.
Eating and drinking
The evening before your surgery, you may eat a normal dinner. However, you cannot eat or drink anything (including water, gum or hard candy) after midnight. Not eating or drinking is essential to preventing vomiting during and after anesthesia. If you violate these guidelines, your surgery may be cancelled.
- Bring a list of your current medications that includes the names, dosages and how often you take them. Talk to your physician about possible drug interactions.
- You may be asked to stop taking aspirin or medications with aspirin. Many patients should stop taking aspirin two weeks before surgery. Patients may also have to stop taking anticoagulants or blood thinners such as Coumadin. Talk to your physician about these and other medications before and after your surgery.
It is strongly recommended that smokers quit smoking as early as possible before surgery.
Living wills and health care proxies
What would you want to happen if you become unable to make your own medical decisions? You have the right to select your preferences about your own treatment. Please make your wishes known by creating an advance directive, including a living will and choice of a health care proxy or surrogate.
On admission to our hospital, you will be asked about your advance directives. Advance directives are documents that outline your wishes for your medical care, in case you are unable to speak for yourself. If you are 18 or over, we encourage you to complete a living will and designate a health care proxy or surrogate to speak on your behalf if you become temporarily or permanently unable to make your own medical decisions. If you do not have advance directives, Florida law has provisions for who may make decisions on your behalf if you are unable. One way to help ensure your wishes are honored is to name in advance the person you trust to make decisions for you.
We will need a copy of your most current advance directive while you are our patient. For more information about advance directives or to obtain forms, please visit the Advance Directives page.
Understanding your insurance
If your insurance has changed recently, please bring a copy of your updated insurance card at the time of admission. If your insurance requires pre-admission certification, one of our insurance specialists can help you to get the authorization. Most health insurance companies, as well as Medicare, pay the hospital directly.
Any portion of the cost of your hospitalization or care not covered by insurance is your responsibility.
The hospital is responsible for submitting bills to your insurance company and will do everything possible to expedite your claim. Remember that your policy is a contract between you and your insurance company and that you have the final responsibility for payment of your hospital bill.
If you have any questions about insurance, please call a Patient Financial Services representative at 352-265-7906. For more information about insurance please visit UFHealth.org/insurance.
Prior to, during and after your admission, you may receive an electronic request to complete web-based education about your medical condition, your procedures and your experience. Please complete your online education program (if requested) prior to your hospital visit.
What to Bring
- Your medical insurance information, including insurance card and precertification paperwork
- A government-issued form of personal identification such as a driver’s license or passport
- A check or credit card for deductibles, copayments or deposits
- Your next-of-kin/health care surrogate information
- A copy of your advance directives, such as a living will or designation of health care surrogate form
- Primary physician information
- Reports your doctor gave you to bring to the hospital
- A list of the names and dosages of all your prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, vitamins and herbal supplements
- A list of your allergies, especially to medications and food and/or to any other substances
For your comfort
- Personal assistive devices such as wheelchairs, walkers and canes
- Sleep mask
- Personal toiletries such as a comb, brush, shampoo, soap, contact lens solution, toothbrush and toothpaste
- Pajamas or nightgown, bathrobe, slippers and extra socks
- Books and magazines
- Reading glasses, if needed
- Dentures or hearing aids, if needed, with appropriate storage device labeled with your name
- Photographs or items from home to personalize your space
- Address book or phone numbers of friends and loved ones you may wish to contact during your stay
- Charger for your phone and other devices
What to leave at home
- Valuables such as jewelry, watches, expensive clothing or other costly items, or large amounts of cash; the hospital is not responsible for loss or damage to any personal property kept in your room
- Electrical appliances, except personal medical equipment recommended by your physician
- Medications from home, unless your physician has specifically asked you to bring them in
Our Clinics and Outpatient Locations
Some of our outpatient clinics and dental facilities have guidelines and recommendations for patients prior to coming for an appointment.
For these instructions, please refer to the location's description in our Find a Location application.
UF Health Jacksonville
For information of admissions to UF Health Jacksonville, including a comprehensive patient guide and instructions on what to bring, please visit the UF Health Jacksonville 'For Patients and Visitors' page.