Which Is Better: Hospitalized or Admitted?

Alt: A game show host doodle on “It’s a Match” reads the question, “Mary had to [blank] the hospital.” One doodle holds up the answer “Be admitted to.” Another answers, “Spend the night at.” The host says, “That’s a match!”

Today’s post will address one of our favorite topics: unnecessarily complex health terms!

Let’s start with a pop quiz. Pretend you’re writing a patient handout. What’s the best way to tell someone she’ll have to spend the night in the hospital?

  • a. You’ll be hospitalized overnight
  • b. You’ll be admitted to the hospital for the night
  • c. You’ll need inpatient care at the hospital
  • d. You’ll need overnight observation in the hospital
  • e. It’s a trick question — the question is the answer

Exactly — with an “E.” Just skip the fancy words and say what you mean: “You’ll have to spend the night in the hospital.”

There’s no need to risk confusing people with overcomplicated language. “Hospitalization” has 6 syllables! We’ve said it before, dear readers, and we’ll certainly say it again: just keep it simple.

And in case you were wondering, the title of this post is a trick question, too.

The bottom line: Instead of using complex terms like “hospitalized” or “admitted,” use words that everyone knows.

Tweet about it: Hospitalized? Admitted? Inpatient care? How about “spending the night?” http://bit.ly/1ny0bRN #HealthLit via @CommunicateHealth


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