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Hospital FAQ

Your hospital stay

You need to present two pieces of personal ID, one with a photograph. In addition to two pieces of personal ID, bring along any other health insurance ID card (e.g. extended health care) that you have. If your hospital admission is due to a work-related injury or illness, bring your WorkSafeBC claim number.

Bring primary ID: Shows your legal name and date of birth

  • BC drivers license

  • BC identification card

  • Canadian birth certificate

  • Canadian citizenship card

  • Permanent resident card

  • Canadian record of landing/Canadian immigration identification record*

  • Study, work visitor, or temporary resident permit (formerly Minister’s Permit)*

  • Identity card (Department of Foreign Affairs issued)*

  • Passport*

* These items are mandatory if you are not a Canadian citizen.

Bring secondary ID: Shows name, signature and/or photo

  • BC Services Card or CareCard

  • Passport

  • School ID card (student card)

  • Bank card (only if patient’s name is printed on card)

  • Credit card (only if patient’s name is printed on card)

  • Foreign birth certificate (baptismal certificate not acceptable)

  • Canadian or U.S. drivers license

  • Naturalization certificate

  • Canadian Forces identification

  • Police identification

  • Foreign Affairs Canada or consular identification

  • Vehicle registration (only if patient’s name is shown)

  • Employee picture ID card

  • Firearms acquisition certificate

  • Social insurance card (new style without signature strip not acceptable)

  • Native status card

  • Parole certificate ID

  • Correctional service conditional release card

  • Personal ID

  • Bring prescription medicine in original labelled containers

  • Dentures

  • Glasses

  • Hearing aids

  • For your personal care, pack basic toiletries (e.g. toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, hairbrush, razor)

  • Pajamas/nightgown

  • Bathrobe

  • Slippers

Do not bring valuables such as large sums of money, credit cards, electronics or jewelry (rings and watches that you normally wear should be left at home).

Arrange to pay for things like a private room or equipment when you are discharged. For example, have someone bring your credit card or cheque book when they pick you up. Pay-by-phone is available at VCH's larger hospitals. If you rent a TV or phone, payment is due at connection time.

VCH cannot be held responsible for any lost or stolen items. In emergency situations, VCH hospitals can store some small valuables for a short time. For information, ask the Admitting department or your nurse.

Protect yourself and others from getting infections by using good hand washing habits: clean your hands often and completely. Wash your hands after using the washroom and before eating. Alcohol-based liquid/foam hand sanitizers are available on each unit. 

You can also ask caregivers if they have cleaned their hands before providing you with care.

All Vancouver Coastal Health facilities are smoke-free. Stop smoking services are available at several hospitals to help you quit smoking before and/or during your stay.


It may be helpful to keep a record of your location (unit, location, phone number), and the names and phone numbers of your health care team, for your own use. Your health care team can include: patient services manager, patient care coordinator, care management leader, social worker, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, doctor(s), nurse(s), specialist(s), and more. 

You can print a Location & Health Care Team form to complete when you are in hospital. Keep it for your own records.

Regular rooms have four beds and don’t cost anything for patients with B.C. Medical Services Plan coverage. You can ask about paying for a private or semi-private room to increase your privacy and comfort. In each Vancouver Coastal Health hospital there are a limited number of private or semi-private rooms.

While there is no guarantee a private or semi-private room will be available, we try our best to accommodate these requests. In a private room, you will have your own bathroom. In a semi-private, you share the room and its bathroom with another person.

Regular rooms and semi-private rooms may be shared by men and women.

Good nutrition is an important part of your recovery. At most sites, patients are given a menu from which they can choose selections for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Ask your nurse or a family member if you need help selecting your meals.

If you have food allergies or follow a special diet, let your nurse know as soon as you arrive. A dietitian will talk to you about your food needs, and help design a meal plan for you.

Your family is welcome to bring in your favourite foods, but we do not have space to store large amounts of food.

Pets & service animals

Many of us at Vancouver Coastal Health love pets and recognize the important role they play in our health and wellbeing. But not everyone shares our love of animals, some people suffer from allergies, and animals don’t always fit well in our hospital’s busy hallways.

Pets may be allowed to visit, but it depends on the unit and the hospital. Check with the manager of the unit before bringing in your pet for a visit.


Visits from certified service animals are always welcome.

We also encourage visits from therapeutic animals as long as the visit has been prearranged with the unit staff.

Leaving the hospital

Planning for your discharge from hospital starts well before you actually leave. We will work to have you discharged (sent home) as early in the day as possible. Some patients may need further health care such as home care nursing, care at another hospital, or rehabilitation services. Your health care team will work with you to help plan your discharge and any additional care that is required. Your doctor may write a prescription for medication and a nurse will give you instructions about any other medications you are to take at home.

Your discharge time will not be delayed if you haven’t arranged to have someone drive or accompany you home. With this in mind, plan ahead to have a pick up ready for your discharge day.


If you had a private room or used special supplies or procedures during your stay, please pay your account before you leave the hospital.

In addition to being covered by the B.C. Medical Services Plan, some patients have extended health insurance plans, which may cover the cost of supplies such as crutches, canes, splints and some casts. Please ask a member of your health care team if you have any questions.

For contact information, see "Patient Accounts" in the directory of your hospital-specific patient and family handbook.

If you receive an invoice or statement for the cost of your health care, visit our Make a payment webpage.

If you need a copy of all or part of your medical record after you leave the hospital, you may request this information under VCH’s release of information (ROI) policy. Records usually take 30 days to compile.

For more information, see our Request health records page.

SOURCE: Hospital FAQ ( )
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