Fear of hospitals isn’t anything unusual. Many people will experience anxiety as they step through those doors and seek the crucial treatment they need.
Moreover, even the healthcare professionals themselves are scared to go to work, which may not inspire confidence in you if you’re an impending patient. However, it’s important to realise that you’re not alone in your concerns and that bravery counts for a lot in this environment.
Fortunately, you needn’t accept your fear of hospitals for what it is. Instead, you can undergo a series of measures and precautions to make the experience a little more manageable. We’ve outlined what some of these efforts could be down below.
Pinpoint Your Fear
When fear is at its most intense, it can become a truly chaotic storm of emotions. In these situations, it’s best to try and break your anxiety down and dissect its root cause.
Investigate precisely what it is about hospitals that disturb you. Is it the germs in the environment that could lead to further illness for you? Well, though they don’t get enough recognition for the vital work they do, hospital cleaning staff have been rigorously creating safe environments for patients, staff, and visitors.
Any number of other issues could be the real reason behind your fears. Fear of surgery, pain or even just general anxiety around interacting with others is all perfectly valid. The aim is to make your worries more digestible. Instead of fearing the hospital entirely, you can isolate your stress to one part of the experience and thus make dealing with everything else more manageable.
Talk things through with your healthcare professionals too. Allow them to set realistic expectations for you. Doing this may prevent you from running away with your thoughts or assuming the worst of every situation. Remember that doctors aren’t just there to treat you – they also have a bedside manner with skills in calming and supporting their patients. They also have a duty to be honest, even with hard truths, so make good use of them.
Think About Coping Mechanisms
Once you understand your fear, you can then take proactive steps in mitigating its effects. It may be worth thinking about coping mechanisms that help you destress.
For instance, you could always take your devices and headphones with you. In the waiting room or your own room, listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks to immerse yourself in another state of mind entirely. You could also read a book at your leisure. Perhaps you could stop by the hospital cafeteria and pick up some snacks? Be open to killing some time instead of fretting.
It may be worth synching your diaries with friends and family too. That way, they can accompany you to appointments or even make visits if you’re staying in the hospital for a while. Most importantly, try to remember that hospitals are not just a place where you receive treatment. There’s scope for other things too, so take heart in that.
Nobody expects you to find your stay at the hospital to be a wholly pleasant experience. However, you may be able to distract yourself into some area of enjoyment, so keep yourself entertained until your release.
Talk to Loved Ones
It might seem like an elementary point to make, but there’s a strong chance that you know somebody who has been in hospital before. You can speak to them to gauge what type of experience you can expect.
Obviously, perspective is needed here. If they went in for a rigorous surgery, and you’re potentially going in for an overnight stay, then you shouldn’t conflate the two experiences. However, you can gain insights into the environment and anticipate how you can be treated by the healthcare professionals looking after you.
Of course, airing your anxieties can have therapeutic qualities on its own anyway. Don’t bottle up your feelings. Depending on what you’re visiting the hospital for, your level of fear may understandably vary in severity. Make sure you get these issues off your chest as you proceed, and utilise the support network of family and friends around you.
When you go to a hospital, it can feel like you have your agency stripped away from you somewhat. Many matters can lie outside your control. However, if you have the right insurance, you can have more of a say over what you’ll go through.
Many people look for the best private health insurance to have more control over their experience. Brokers like Switch Health explain that people also seek to avoid long NHS waiting lists with a better premium too. With the right insurance, you can also choose your hospital and doctor, gain faster access to treatment, and get seen by the same consultants for your comfort.
Try to remember that there are solutions available for many hospital-related fears. You may find most of them in your insurance arrangements, so it could be worth consulting a broker, getting a free quote, and seeing what’s possible. Avoid any unnecessary worries with their support.