Hospital stay: outpatient or inpatient?

What are the differences between outpatient and inpatient operations? And what exactly happens during a procedure at hospital? You will find the key differences here.

Outpatient or inpatient – this is a key question for a number of procedures. The trend is clearly going in one direction: more and more operations are being carried out on an outpatient basis. The number of outpatient procedures in Switzerland is increasing every year. This is partly thanks to medical advancements for many procedures, meaning that today only minor operations are required. But it is also due to the fact that outpatient operations help hospitals save resources.

Outpatient operations

What is an outpatient operation?

Outpatient operations are procedures in hospital where the patient is released a few hours later and without staying overnight.

There are also diagnostic procedures that are carried out on an outpatient basis, as sometimes a minor operation is required to get a clear diagnosis. This includes examinations of the heart, gastrointestinal tract and uterus.

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With PRIMEO outpatient supplementary insurance, you can enjoy a free choice of doctor at recognised partner institutions. You also benefit from a range of comfort benefits, such as a separate recovery zone or a taxi ride home.

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What are examples of outpatient operations?

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has defined six groups of procedures that should, since January 2019, be carried out on an outpatient basis.

  • Unilateral varicose vein operations on the leg
  • Procedures on haemorrhoids
  • Unilateral inguinal hernia operation
  • Examinations/procedures of the cervix or uterus
  • Knee arthroscopy and arthroscopic procedures of the meniscus
  • Procedures on the tonsils and in the nasopharyngeal space

 

Other procedures that can also be carried out on an outpatient basis are:

  • Operation on hallux valgus (bunion)
  • Breaking up kidney stones
  • Cataract operation
  • Pacemaker implantation
  • Operations on the hand

What happens during an outpatient operation?

After you have decided on an operation together with your doctor, you will be registered at the hospital. The hospital will request a cost approval from your health insurance company for the planned procedure.

You can find more information about choosing a hospital in the hospital FAQ

A doctor gives you detailed information about your operation. You will also discuss any risks, or anything that you need to be aware of after the operation.

You will talk to the anaesthetist. After this consultation, the type of anaesthesia will be chosen and you will give written consent. This consultation takes place on the day of the procedure or before the procedure via telephone.

You go to the hospital on the morning of the procedure. For most procedures, you have to go on an empty stomach. The medical specialists will tell you in advance when the last time you can eat or drink something is.

At the hospital, you’ll answer the last few administrative questions. If the consultation with the anaesthetist did not take place previously, it will take place now.

You will then be prepared for the operation. You will receive suitable clothing. The discussed anaesthesia and procedure will then take place.

After the procedure, you will be brought into the recovery room on the outpatient unit or relevant specialist ward.

As soon as you have woken up, the doctor will do a follow-up examination. If everything is ok, you can go home. It’s good if someone accompanies you.

Inpatient operations

What does inpatient mean?

If you have a hospital stay for inpatient treatment, you are admitted on the day of the procedure or a day before. You will then stay in hospital for at least one night.

Good to know: it’s not just operations, but also individual treatments that require an inpatient stay at hospital; for example, treatment for pneumonia, a heart attack or cancer.

Free choice of doctor and hospital with HOSPITAL

With supplementary hospital insurance, you can enjoy free choice of doctor and hospital throughout Switzerland. Furthermore, with HOSPITAL Semi-Private or Private, you receive the costs for a stay in a two-bed or one-bed room.

What are common inpatient operations?

Procedures where patients need to be observed by a doctor and require care afterwards are usually carried out as inpatient procedures.

Typical inpatient treatments are:

  • Shoulder, hip or ankle replacements
  • Birth, including a caesarean section
  • Operations on the abdominal area, for example the gastrointestinal tract

What happens during an inpatient hospital stay?

After you have decided on an operation together with your doctor, you will be registered at the hospital. The hospital will request a cost approval from your health insurance company for the planned procedure.

A doctor gives you detailed information about your operation. You will also discuss any risks, or anything that you need to be aware of after the procedure.

You will talk to the anaesthetist. After this consultation, the type of anaesthesia will be chosen and you will give written consent. This consultation takes place on the day of the procedure or before the procedure via telephone.

For inpatient operations, it may be the case that you need to come to the hospital the day before the operation. Most operations take place in the morning and you should have an empty stomach. The medical specialists will tell you in advance when the last time you can eat or drink something is.

At the hospital, you’ll answer the last few administrative questions. If the consultation with the anaesthetist did not take place previously, it will take place now.

You will then be prepared for the operation. You will receive suitable clothing. The discussed anaesthesia and procedure will then take place.

After the procedure, you will be brought to the recovery room or directly to your room. As soon as you have woken up, the doctor will do a follow-up examination.

You will now stay in the hospital for one or several nights. On the ward, you will be cared for and observed by a doctor. If your recovery goes as planned, you can go home at the time defined in advance. It’s good if someone accompanies you.

You can find out more about the support options for after or during an inpatient hospital stay here

Are outpatient and inpatient operations carried out at the same place or hospital?

Generally speaking, both outpatient and inpatient treatments are carried out in a hospital. There are also specialist outpatient clinics, where only outpatient procedures are carried out.

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