(used with permission from the University of Notre Dame)
First and foremost, you are not alone in experiencing hospitalization. You may be wondering how your hospitalization might impact your relationships, academics, housing, and remaining time at the University. Baylor staff and faculty are here to help you to navigate these questions. The answers are different for each individual, but there are several resources available to you. Some students may remain at the University with little interruption to their classes, while others may choose to withdraw and return home for a semester or two of recovery. The following guidelines can help you to think about this process and make a decision that is right for you.
Where to Start?
In the event that you are hospitalized, there will likely be a lot on your mind and you may not be able to notify all of your professors or others about your foreseeable absence from campus. The Office of the Spiritual Life is here to help. They are available to be of support, offer care, and to notify others here on campus. You may contact the Office of the Spiritual Life at 254-710-3517 to request that someone notify your professors to let them know of the hospitalization until you are able to communicate with them on your own.
The Office of the Spiritual Life also offers a number of spiritual resources, including prayer, meeting with a chaplain, and information/resources related to spiritual development and needs, if that is helpful to you in your time of hospitalization (those resources can be found on their website).
Academic Questions and Considerations
Will my absence be excused?
Per Baylor policy (the attendance policy is listed here, and all student policies are listed here), the University does not offer excused absences, however if you notify them, professors should work with you regarding the classwork you missed and any assignments, tests, etc. The official policy is:
In the event of serious illness, accident, or death in the family, students should contact their professors as soon as they are able. When such a crisis prohibits the student from being able to make immediate contact, the office of the Chaplain notifies faculty when information is available; the Chaplain, does not, however, pursue official verification of such reports. Requests by faculty to verify the nature of an absence should be made to the student upon the student's return. Students are usually allowed to make up classwork and/or tests missed that result from such crises. As these instances are academic matters, any dishonesty on the part of a student in such a situation is considered a violation of the University Honor Code.
For full policy see: https://www.baylor.edu/student_policies/index.php?id=22214.
What if my hospitalization is for an extended period of time, and/or significantly impacts my studies?
If your hospitalization is for an extended period of time, and/or you feel it is significantly impacting your academic studies, Baylor is here to support you through that as well. Depending upon your situation, you may feel it is in your best interest to withdraw from Baylor for the semester to focus on recovery. If that is your decision, or if you want to explore that decision The Office of Academic Support Programs (housed in he Paul L. Foster Success Center) the is here to support you. You can call them at 254-710-8696 or email them at Academic_Support@baylor.edu and they are here to support and guide you through that process. More information about the withdrawal process can be found here.
Alternatively, if you do not need/wish to withdraw, but you feel you need academic support to complete the semester, The Office of Academic Support Programs also provides a range of academic supports (such as tutoring) as well; those resources can be found here.
Additional Relationship/Social Considerations
Most students call their parents, guardians, and/or spouse when experiencing hospitalization. However, that decision is ultimately up to you. It is highly recommended though that you reach out to your primary support network to let them know of your hospitalization. Once hospitalized, the hospital staff will work with you to determine the nature of continued contact with your support network.
Roommates and Friends
You may decide to call roommates or friends to let them know you are in the hospital. There also may be those you want to inform of your safety but may not want to disclose the details of your hospitalization. This is perfectly okay. The hospital staff will inform you of the visitation and phone times with friends. It is up to you who you grant permission to visit. If you live off campus, it is important someone tell your roommates you are safe. Roommates do not need to know you are in the hospital, only that you are safe.
If you Live in a Residence Hall
If you live in a residence hall, you may want your Community Leader, Hall Director, and/or Resident Chaplain to let them know you are safe (if you need the contact information of any of your Residence Hall staff, it can be found here). Depending upon the details of your hospitalization, this information may have already been communicated to your Hall Director. Once you are discharged, you will want to let your Hall Director know you are safely back in the hall.
Returning to Campus
What if I need additional medical care after my hospitalization?
Before being discharged from the hospital, you should talk with your medical care provider(s) about any prescribed medications, needed follow-up appointments, and on-going care. They can advise you as to how you should proceed medically after being discharged. While some follow-up steps may require a specific doctor or specialist, the Baylor Health Center offers a variety of primary care, as well as some specialized care, and may be able to offer some of the health services you require. A list of available services can be found here. The Baylor Health Center also includes a pharmacy if you need prescriptions filled.
What if I need mental or emotional support, care, or counseling after my hospitalization?
The Baylor Counseling Center is a great resource and is available for free to all full-time students. They offer a variety of different counseling services catered to different needs. You may call ahead to schedule an appointment at 254-710-2467 (full contact information and clinic hours are available here), or you may use the walk-in clinic (for more information click here), Mondays-Fridays 9 a.m.-4 p.m. If you feel you are having a mental health crisis, the Counselling Center also offers a phone hotline and additional resources which can be found here. Lastly, if you feel you just need to resources to support your mental health, the Counselling Center also offers online resources here.
What if I need accommodations because of a lasting part of my medical condition?
If your hospitalization significantly impacts your day-to-day functioning upon your return to campus, then the Office of Access and Learning Accommodation (OALA) may be able to assist. They are the central place on campus for students to receive reasonable accommodations to support their documented needs. For many of the services offered you will need to provide appropriate medical documentation. OALA will work with you to determine what accommodations may be most appropriate and facilitate the needed accomodations(s). To inquire further you can contact the office at 254-710-3605 (full contact information can be found here). If you already have documentation of medical need or disability you can find the application for requesting services here. If you have a car and believe that your normal parking arrangement will be burdensome during your recovery period, in consultation with your medical care providers and OALA (documentation of need is required), you may apply for a temporary (1 month) medical parking permit that will allow you to park in any visitor, faculty/staff, or student space. Depending on your current parking plan, additional fees may apply for the permit (see the application for details).
What if I need academic support?
If upon return to campus, you feel you need academic support to complete the semester or to catch up, The Office of Academic Support Programs offers a range of academic supports such as tutoring, supplemental instruction, academic coaching, and more. A list of those resources can be found here (look for the “Resources for Students” heading).
What if I need financial support as a result of my hospitalization?
While ultimately finances are something that each student must manage personally or in conjunction with their support system (parents, guardians, spouse, etc.), Student Financial Services oversees emergency funds that you may apply to for financial assistance if you experience unexpected expenses that could prevent you from completing the current semester of study at Baylor University. The funds are set aside for such expenses as medical expenses not covered by insurance (not for tuition, fees, books, etc.) and can provide up to $1000 per student per year (although that full amount is not guaranteed). Information about the fund and how to apply can be found here.
What if I have been placed under the Policy on Threat to Harm Self or Others?
Baylor University is concerned about the well-being of all students. Any behavior, including a non-privileged verbal statement, that tends to demonstrate a student may harm himself or herself or another is taken seriously. This policy is applied in a nondiscriminatory manner to all students and allows the University to take interim steps to address immediate safety concerns. The determination to implement this policy is based on observed student conduct, actions, or statements, and individualized assessments by designated professionals will be utilized in each situation. The policy can be found here.
What if I don’t know who to call?
The Care Team serves as consultants to various campus constituents, helping students identify resources and receive the assistance needed to help them work toward success. Additional information about the Care Team is found here.
Academic Support Programs
Academic support resources: https://www.baylor.edu/support_programs/
Guidance with withdrawing: https://www.baylor.edu/successcenter/index.php?id=951853
Guidance returning after a break in enrolment: https://www.baylor.edu/successcenter/index.php?id=951852
Baylor Counseling Center
Baylor Financial Aid Student Emergency Fund Scholarships
Information and Application: https://www.baylor.edu/sfs/index.php?id=937238
Baylor Health Services
Appointments, Information, Care: https://www.baylor.edu/healthservices
Campus Living & Learning
Who to contact: https://www.baylor.edu/cll/index.php?id=872076
Case Managers and Care Team
Case managers: https://www.baylor.edu/shw/index.php?id=935125
Office of Access and Learning Accommodation
How to request services: https://www.baylor.edu/oala/index.php?id=26126
Medical parking permit: https://www.baylor.edu/oala/index.php?id=934569
Office of the University Chaplain
Help notifying professors: https://www.baylor.edu/spirituallife/index.php?id=870504
Pastoral care resources: https://www.baylor.edu/spirituallife/index.php?id=870490
Tips for Well-being after Discharge from the Hospital
Whether you return to campus or withdraw from the University, transition can be overwhelming. Here are important strategies to support your well-being.
- Always take your medication as prescribed. Know why you are taking your medication and what side-effects you might experience. Discuss side effects with your physician before changing the way you take your medications.
- Maintain regular sleep patterns. It might be hard to do this during high-stress times, such as midterms or finals. Stick to a cycle, as much as possible, in order to stay healthy.
- Be sure to identify a support system of people who can help and surround you in time of transition and return to campus.
- Consider maintaining regular appointments with a counselor.
- Learn what you can about your medical condition. Work with your medical care provider/s as much as possible to know your triggers and warning signs so you can address issues before they start to spiral.
- Take care of yourself by asking for assistance in managing assignments and time for yourself, such as exercise, walks, and socializing with friends.
- If you are returning to campus, you will want to meet with your professors immediately to determine any make-up work and/or discuss academic concerns regarding your absence.
- If you plan to withdrawal, The Office of Academic Support Programs can support and guide you through that process and inform you of any requirements for returning to the University. You can call them at 254-710-8696 or email them at Academic_Support@baylor.edu. More information about the withdrawal process can be found here.