I had the pleasure (?) of staying at a pretty well-known hospital in Seoul to have minimally invasive surgery. I had it performed during Covid-19, so if you're reading this after all restrictions were lifted, some of these may no longer apply. You may be here for an insight on how Korean hospital culture differs from American hospital culture, however, and most of these have been in effect before Covid-19 came around.
First things first, the hospital you stay in affects the amenities and care you receive. This is not to say that doctors in smaller hospitals are careless or that the equipment is outdated. It's just that the bigger and more popular a hospital is, the better quality and sometimes quantity amenities you can receive. Bigger hospitals have more coffee shops, convenience stores, etc. INSIDE, so consider this when looking for your hospital.
Because my visit was during Covid-19, I didn't really get to take advantage of the restaurants and coffee shops. It was not the end of the world, but it is a nice perk outside of Covid I'm sure. I also couldn't have visitors, so that made things pretty boring. The wifi was also a bit shoddy, so get ready to figure out something for that.
I was admitted a full day before my surgery. There weren't any pre-operation tasks to get done on this day, so I don't know if this is a standard practice or a Covid-19 precaution. I asked to stay in the five-person room. It's the cheapest option, but you could also choose to stay in a two-person or single room. I saw a two-person room while walking around, it was two beds next to each other divided by a curtain. To me, it's the same as a five-person room.
Here's what my room looked like. Sorry for the mess, this was on day four before leaving.
Amenities Given and What to Bring
You do get a mini-fridge in your little area, and there are a few cold/hot water dispensers on the floor, but that's about it for amenities. You will need to bring just about everything else.
Take a moment to copy this handy list:
What to Bring
toothbrush and toothpaste
water bottles or drinking cup (for the dispenser)
There are meal services three times a day. Breakfast was at 7:00ish and they WILL wake you up around 6/6:30. If you are not a morning person, you're going to be for your stay! They check your blood pressure, give medications, etc. after meals so you will probably need to eat unless it's surgery day. That part SUCKED, I was so thirsty after surgery since I couldn't drink or eat from midnight the night before. I know that's par for the course, but it still was unpleasant.
I chose to have Korean meals every day. There are also foreign meals, but my rationale was that Korean hospitals probably make Korean meals a bit tastier than foreign meals. I didn't know what constituted as a foreign meal as well, Japanese? American? I wanted to stay on the safe side. The food was good, but at the end of the day, it was hospital food. If you want something extra, you can go find a convenience store or maybe a restaurant if they are inside your hospital.
I enjoyed my meals, personally, but I really like Korean food. If you are not one to enjoy Korean food, I suggest going for foreign meals or bringing some extra money to find a convenience store or a restaurant.
Is there anything else you wanted to know about a Korean hospital stay? Write a comment, and I'll try to update it if I know the answer!