Here is some helpful information from the ADSHG about being prepared if you fall ill enough to require hospital treatment. We hope you'll stay safe and well but we do recommend planning ahead.

When you get to the hospital, tell someone straight away that you have adrenal insufficiency and are steroid-dependent. This is so staff at the hospital can give you the right care – both physically and emotionally. Getting good care in hospital involves working with the healthcare professionals to help them understand what you need.

We recommend showing them your NHS Steroid Emergency Card, which is linked to the National Patient Safety Alert. This is a patient-held prompt to healthcare professionals to ensure steroid treatment is given appropriately and promptly. Talk to them if you’re worried about anything.

You may want to share this information with a family member or friend, so they can be prepared too. You could use our Personal Emergency Plan. Here are some quick links for your advocate to view, keep safe and follow in case of emergencies:

If you need to stay over in hospital (inpatient)

Here’s a handy checklist of what to take to hospital if you need to stay overnight as an inpatient. Don’t worry if you forget some of these, especially if you’re leaving home in an emergency. Tell the hospital staff you have adrenal insufficiency and are steroid-dependent. Let them know what you need to stay well – or ask a family member or friend to let them know.

  • Medication – adrenal insufficiency meds and anything else you take. Include a copy of your recent prescription/ medication list, so you can easily show healthcare professionals your current medication regime.
  • Emergency Hydrocortisone Kit
  • hospital folder with your key information in and/or ADSHG leaflets, such as the Surgical Guidelines, hospital drug chart stickers and Notes for Nurses. This can then be picked up and taken there easily by you, your carer or patient advocate.
  • Important numbers – take your phone and a charger.
  • A change of clothes.
  • Things to pass the time – like a magazine or a book.

Managing your adrenal insufficiency in hospital

If you are very ill and unable to look after yourself, the staff at the hospital will manage your adrenal insufficiency as well as any other health issues you have. The more information they have, the easier this will be – so make sure family members or friends know how you manage your adrenal insufficiency. You might want to write this down for them or share the link to the page. Or download and print the following information:

Place your NHS Steroid Emergency Card or ADSHG adrenal crisis guidelines on your bedside table so your steroid-dependency is quickly identified by all hospital staff. You can also place a steroid-dependency drug chart sticker on your hospital file.

The ward staff will need to involve the Endocrine team in your care while you’re in hospital and to make sure you’re ready for when you are discharged. It’s important you know things like your sick day rules – which are steps to take if you get ill for any reason and help you manage your adrenal insufficiency when you’re sick. 

When in hospital, here are some items to discuss with those involved in your care: 

  • Make sure they are aware of your condition and the importance of timing of medication
  • Aware of the importance of allowing you as a patient to retain your medication if you are admitted into hospital. Hospital dispensing times on wards may not align well with a patient's usual medication management schedule. Some Trusts have medication self-administration policies that allow patients to self medicate so do ask about this.
  • Aware of any concerns you have about going into hospital - they may be able to advise and reassure you.

Be Prepared - register with your local paramedics

Read more about the things you can do to be prepared in your day-to-day life, as well as registering with your local ambulance trust.

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