INFOYER I Hospital & Pharmacy in Germany

Hospitals in Germany

Hospitals in Germany can be public or private. There are several teaching hospitals known as Universitätsklinikum or Unikliniks. Of course there are private clinics and hospitals as well, some of which are not for profit institutions attached to various larger welfare organizations. Regardless of their type, most German hospitals and clinics provide premium health services using advanced techniques and state of the art technology. 
In case of hospitalization in the absence of an emergency, the patient requires authorization from a doctor. Once hospitalized, it could be a different doctor taking over if the former isn’t a member of the panel of doctors in that particular hospital. 
High expenses of the health care system associated with long hospital stays has brought down the average duration of stay in most German hospitals, although it continues to be longer than in some other countries like in the U.S.. 
For instance, in standard problem free maternity cases a German hospital would keep the new mother for about 6 days as opposed to a one or two day stay in most cases in the U.S.. 
Some things you may need during a hospital stay are towels, a bathrobe, comfortable clothing like pyjamas or a night gown, a few toiletries and a pair of slippers. You have to be careful though not to get too many things because there could be a space/storage issue. 

Breakfast, lunch at midday and early supper is what most German households have. Hospitals generally follow that norm as well with the big hot meal of the day being served at noon. Bread, butter, cheese, marmalade, meat, tea/coffee are breakfast standards. Unless you have special dietary restrictions, you are allowed to get your own food and non-alcoholic beverages. Smoking indoors is strictly prohibited. 

Standard rooms are either double or four bedded. You may opt for private/semi private accommodation if your insurance policy covers it. 
A patient can have visitors between 2p.m. and 8p.m. Children are not encouraged to visit patients but it is usually no problem as long as fellow patients are not disturbed. One parent is allowed to stay overnight with the patient in paediatric cases. 
There may be a small co-payment and some additional costs like TV & telephone that a state insured patient may need to bear. 
Leaving a thank you note or a box of chocolates or a small tip for the nursing staff is a common practice when released from hospital.

Pharmacies in Germany

You will spot this symbol with a large red ‘A’ across Germany marking all pharmacies, known as ‘Apotheken’. Apotheken in Germany are in abundance and have to be mandatorily owned and managed by qualified pharmacists. Each owner is allowed to own up to a maximum of 3 pharmacies. 
Pharmacies are well stocked with both prescription drugs as well as over-the-counter medication and often also have non-medicinal health products. Pharmacists ensure you understand the dosage of a prescribed drug and can also recommend non-prescription medication to treat minor problems. Most drugs are packaged and available in 3 sizes (N1, N2 & N3 – small, medium & large) and come with a small piece of paper that provides crucial information on dosage, contra-indications etc. An order can be placed for drugs unavailable at the pharmacy and picked up later at a given time. 
There is always an emergency Apotheke that is open even on weekends, holidays and after hours and this information is displayed at the entrance of every other pharmacy. 
Insurances do not cover over the counter drugs and there may be small co-payments associated with prescription drugs. All generic drugs are usually covered by insurance. Some special brands may have additional charges. 
If you are privately insured, you will most likely have to foot the bill for your medicines and file for reimbursement subsequently.