Hospitalization in Germany

In case of hospitalization, you should know that there are a few different types of hospitals in Germany: the Universitätsklinikum or Uniklinik is a state-run hospital affiliated with a local university; then there are non-profit hospitals affiliated with different organizations, charities or churches; as well as private clinics and hospitals often specializing in specific medical areas. German hospitals are known for their use of the latest technology and techniques and provide excellent medical care. Hospitals normally accept all patients with german health insurance.

In non-emergency situations, a doctor must authorize hospitalization. Most likely your primary care or treating physician will not be the same doctor who treats you in the hospital — unless your referring doctor is a member of the hospital staff.

increasing health care costs are a pressing concern for legislators and insurers resulting in measures to reduce the length of hospital stays. Regardless, hospital stays in Germany are often longer than in other countries. For example in the USA, a new mother’s hospital stay - barring complications - is typically one or two days, while in Germany a new mother’s hospital stay averages six days.

Personal privacy concerns in Germany are not as high as in many other countries. You probably won’t be issued a gown during examinations and there are usually no curtains around beds. It’s best to bring a nightgown, pajamas or robe. Most hospitals don’t issue towels as you are expected to bring your own. For extended stays you should also bring: slippers, a washcloth, soap and toiletries. Don’t bring too much though, as space is limited.

Hospital meals conform with conventional meal habits in Germany. The big warm meal of the day is served midday at lunch rather than in the evening. Breakfast consists of baked rolls or bread with jam, honey, meat and cheese. Supper is usually bread with sausage, cold cuts, cottage cheese and tea. Supper is generally served early - as early as 4:30 PM sometimes. You are often given a menu choice for meals and you may also bring your own food and non-alcoholic drinks - unless there are dietary restrictions.

Visiting hours are generally from 2:00 PM to 8:00PM. Most hospitals prefer small children to wait outside of hospital rooms during visits. You may bring in small children as long as other patients are not disturbed. One parent can usually spend the night with a hospitalized child.

Smoking is prohibited in patient rooms and outside designated areas. Patient rooms usually have 2 to 4 beds and your roommates will always be of the same gender.

Depending on your insurance coverage, you may be assigned a private or semi-private room.

When checking out of the hospital, it is customary to leave a small consideration for the nursing staff - a fruit basket, candy or baked goods with a nice thank-you card is greatly appreciated, as is a €5 or €10 gift for the "coffee fund.”

For more information please visit the German health insurance sector or general information

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