Your hospital stay | Te Whatu Ora | Health New Zealand | Hauora a Toi Bay of Plenty

Your hospital stay

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Preparing for hospital

Read the letter from the hospital and any instructions carefully. You will need to bring the letter with you, so keep it in a safe place.

  • Start thinking about how you will get to and from the hospital, what support you might need, and who needs to know.
  • If you smoke, consider quitting before your hospital stay as this will help your recovery. All our facilities and campuses are smokefree. Free support is available - call our stop smoking service, Hāpainga, free on 0800 427 246 (0800 HAPAINGA).
  • If you have any questions, contact us using the phone number provided in your letter. If you have lost your letter please contact our Patient Information Centre free on 0800 333 477 from 8am - 4.30pm Monday to Friday. Outside of these times please leave a detailed message.
  • Make your surgery or treatment a priority. If for any reason you are not able to come, you must let the service know as soon as possible.

If you are having a general anaesthetic, about a week before your appointment a nurse will contact you and ask some questions to make sure you are still fit, willing and able to have your procedure. You will also be told how to prepare for your surgery. This is a good time to discuss transport and support arrangements including for discharge.

If you are having a local anaesthetic, we will only contact you if there are any necessary instructions.

Arriving at hospital

If you have an appointment for surgery, or an arranged admission, go straight to the unit (ward) indicated in your appointment information card. If you have difficulty with the directions, volunteers can help you at the main receptions.

You will be introduced to staff when you arrive at the unit (ward). We will put an identification bracelet on your wrist to help us check your identity before doing any tests or treatments. Please always wear it while you are with us.

Bring everything with you that you will need - especially if you are staying overnight or longer. See the what to bring list here. Your appointment time does not indicate the time of your surgery. Your surgery will happen after your preparation is complete. Please be prepared to wait.

Questions we ask you

When you arrive at the hospital you will be asked to give information about yourself to check against our records.

You may be asked the same questions a few times before and after your procedure. This is because we need to make sure all our records are correct and complete.

Different people in your care team may need to check who you are – this is a safety precaution, not a sign that we keep forgetting what you tell us.

To learn more about how we use your personal information visit your patient rights and privacy.

What to bring

Limit your luggage to one small bag that is easy to carry.

We will try to keep items safe, but we are not responsible for the loss of any personal items.


  • your appointment letter
  • any medications you are taking, or ointments you are using regularly
  • glasses, hearing aids or dentures and their cases
  • a small amount of cash
  • if you are staying overnight or longer:
    • one change of comfortable day clothes and shoes
    • sleepwear, slippers or jandals
    • personal toiletries (toothbrush and toothpaste, moisturiser, etc).
  • a mobile phone and charger, if you wish, but you are responsible for looking after them.

Do not bring:

  • valuables

If surgery has to be postponed or cancelled

In some cases, your hospital booking may be postponed and rescheduled because of an influx of emergency cases or some other unavoidable event.

If this happens, we are really sorry, but we must treat the most urgent patients first and ensure clinical safety standards are met.

Cancellation of surgery or other treatment is only done as a last resort – you will be rescheduled as soon as possible.

After your procedure and being discharged

If you were anaesthetised or sedated, immediately after your procedure you will be taken to a recovery room where you will receive care while waking up from your anaesthetic. 

If you are staying overnight or longer, you will be admitted to one of our hospital wards or facilities. You will be given information about the ward and about patient safety.

Tauranga Hospital and Whakatāne Hospital work closely with your GP and community-based services to ensure that your discharge from hospital and transfer of care on returning home is appropriate.

Discussion around your likely day of discharge should begin soon after you enter hospital.

Please feel free to ask questions about any concerns you might have about your discharge, so that arrangements can be made to address them.

It may take some time before a doctor is able to formalise your transfer of care from hospital staff to other health professionals working in the community, but we will try to meet all your needs quickly.

If you have questions about your discharge, please speak with your nurse.

You should be given a discharge summary and a prescription for ongoing medication (if required) before you are discharged.

For your safety and care, we will provide you with a discharge plan that might include:

  • how you will travel home
  • instructions about medication, pain relief, rest, exercise and diet
  • community services such as district nursing, social workers, home help, meals on wheels or referrals to other agencies
  • information about therapy from your occupational therapist or physiotherapist or specialist nurse, or equipment to assist at home
  • who you can talk to about any concerns you might have
  • details follow-up treatment at an outpatient's appointment and what this involves.

If you  cannot return borrowed hospital equipment to the department it came from, please leave it at the hospital's main reception.

Thank you.