10 Tips for Leaving Hospital
Getting discharged from the hospital may seem like it can't come fast enough! But making sure it goes smoothly and you don't return to the hospital early is way more important than getting out fast. Here are ten tips for when you or your loved one is being discharged from the hospital.
- ASK EVERY QUESTION YOU HAVE
We put this one first for a reason. Please never hesitate to ask your doctor and nurses questions about the discharge process, mobility restrictions, follow-up appointments, etc. If you don't understand their answer, ask them to explain. Don't let your pride or their schedule get in the way of you getting your questions answered.
- WRITE DOWN ANY RECOVERY INSTRUCTIONS IN DETAIL
This will help you explain the recommendations and/or mobility limitations to Physical or Occupational Therapist, Medical, Non-Medical Home care, or family caregivers. It will also help you stay on track yourself and prevent further injury or infection.
- CREATE A MEDICATION SCHEDULE
If medication is going to be a part of your new routine, put yourself on a strict, but manageable schedule. If you're helping care for a parent or other family member, writing down a medication schedule can help anyone else who assists in their care stay consistent with their medications. With many medications, timing is everything.
- PACK EARLY
It's hard to know exactly when the medical team will be able to discharge you during the day. We recommend packing up early, then being prepared to wait. :-)
- MAKE FOLLOW-UP APPOINTMENTS
Put these on your calendar before you leave the hospital if possible. Make sure someone is available to help transport you or your loved-one to their appointment. Non-Medical care is a great choice for this since these appointments may be at inconvenient times for working family and friends but are vital to recovery.
- EAT WELL
You're tired. You're stressed. Fast food and snack food has never been more tempting. BUT this is the time when eating healthy meals is so important for your loved-one and family. Our visiting angels can help with healthy meal preparation. Asking your community to set up a meal train is another a great option.
- GET THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT
Will you need additional mobility equipment when you return home? Talk to the hospital's physical therapist about how your home is set up and what other equipment you may need. Someone (PT, Doctor, Medical Homecare, or other) will likely have to submit this request to insurance on your behalf, so discuss it as early as possible.
- CONSIDER HOME HELP
Maybe the house has gotten dirty while you’ve been away. Maybe you left in a rush and there are dirty dishes and laundry to take care of, not to mention the yard to mow. Consider hiring a housecleaning service, lawn care, or asking your Visiting Angel to include light housekeeping in your care. If you’ve never had someone else do your cleaning, there is no better time to try it!
- KNOW WHO TO CALL
What if you get home and find you have a persistent cough? Or if a medication causes strong side affects? Or if your house isn’t as wheelchair-friendly as you thought it would be? Have the phone numbers (direct lines if possible) of all your care providers written down so they are easy to find when questions arise.
- STICK WITH THE PLAN
Whether it’s a hip replacement, a stroke, a cardiac procedure, or a bad case of pneumonia, you may feel like you are all better right away. While you may FEEL better and are likely doing better health-wise than when you were admitted to the hospital, it’s important to follow your doctor’s recommendations or restrictions. This goes for your loved-ones as well. People suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s often need specialized care to help keep them safe after a hospital stay, since they may forget they have new physical limitations.