7 Tips for Coming Home After a Hospital Stay
Before you leave the hospital, make sure you have all the information you need to continue to heal. Ask the nurse or doctor for a medical summary of your visit and confirm any further tests or steps that are necessary once you leave. If you still aren’t feeling well or have any concerns, don’t be afraid to ask questions prior to leaving the hospital. You want to feel comfortable and ready to move home.
There are several things you can do to adjust to life at home and avoid having to be readmitted to the hospital:
Understand and take your medication.
- Make sure that you understand any changes to your medicine prior to leaving the hospital. These changes may include any new medicines or stopping medicines that you had been taking before you went to the hospital.
- Once you are discharged from the hospital pick up all of your medicines at the pharmacy. This will help you not to miss any doses at home.
- If you aren’t sure about the way that you should be taking your medicine ask your doctor or pharmacist for help.
Schedule follow-up appointments.
- Follow up with your doctor after you come home from the hospital. This visit will allow you and your doctor to review any changes to your health and medicines while you were in the hospital. Your doctor can also check to see how you are doing since you went home.
- Develop a plan to manage your health. Make your doctor aware of any new signs or symptoms you have. Also learn what to do if you notice your symptoms are getting worse.
- If you were in the hospital for a reason related to a mental health issue, follow up with a psychiatrist or therapist within a week after you come home. If your doctor asked you to have any testing, lab work or therapy, make sure that you do this, soon. It can help identify any issues before they become a bigger problem.
Use health home services.
- Your doctor may have asked for home health nurses to see you at home. This allows you to continue to get care at home.
- Be sure to know the name of the service that is coming to visit you.
Know how to use your medical equipment.
- Your doctor may have asked for you to have special medical equipment at home. This could include oxygen, a hospital bed, wheelchair or other safety equipment.
- Know when to expect this equipment to be delivered. Make sure that you know how to use it the right way.
Make your home safe for healing.
- Take it easy as you are still healing and try not to overdo it. Do not be afraid to ask for help from family members or caregivers.
- Make sure that your home is free from throw rugs or excess clutter that could cause you to trip and fall.
Create a comfortable sleeping environment.
- Make sure you’re healing in a comfortable environment. Consider moving your bed or medical equipment to a different room to make it easier for you to go up and down steps. Set yourself up for a good night’s sleep and rest. Both are important to your overall health.
Record your progress.
- Note how you feel each day to track your progress. Keep a daily health log that documents how you feel mentally and physically. Be sure to call out any changes or concerns in your healing process along with changes in medications.
- If you start to see any concerning patterns, call your doctor right away to discuss.
Taking proper steps to smoothly go back to your life at home can significantly impact your healing. Schedule time to talk with your doctor at least two weeks after you return home so they can check your progress.
If you need help with calling your doctor to make a follow-up appointment, call 1-800-392-1147. TTY/TDD users, dial 711 or 1-800-684-5984
If you are confused, feel sad or blue, call Special Needs at 1-800-392-1147
TDD/TTY users, dial 711 or 1-800-684-5984
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