Being discharged from the hospital after a stay can sometimes be a stressful endeavor for both the patient and family members. Keeping these tips in mind may lead to a smoother transition that may reduce rehospitalization and keep you or your loved one living comfortably at home.
Huddle up: Take time to meet with the hospital’s discharge team to coordinate services before you or your loved one leaves the hospital. Make sure you’re comfortable with the strategy that is outlined in the meeting and work together to implement it.
Ask questions: Don’t be afraid to get insight on the discharge process. What will I need? Who will provide post-hospitalization services? What can I expect to improve upon should I receive at-home services?
Have a plan of attack: Know the date of the discharge and have an idea of services that will be provided once at home. Are you in need of skilled nursing? Therapy? Perhaps an aide to help with day-to-day activities? Spend some time researching agencies that offer in-home care and what coverage may be offered with insurance or Medicare.
Move In: You or your loved one might need extra space for a hospital bed or other equipment to aide in recovery. Be prepared to move things that may hamper easy movement throughout the house. Prep the kitchen and bathroom areas for easier access.
Get organized: Have a safe, but convenient, place to store medications and have important medical information readily available in case anyone needs to be contacted.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help: Registered nurses and home health aides are readily available to help with any care plan that might be ordered after discharge. Care from professional, skilled workers keep patients on an effective road to recovery.
Be consistent: Change isn’t easy on anyone. To make a hospital discharge as stress free as possible, try to keep the same routine as before the hospitalization.
Transitioning from the hospital into the home, through comprehensive planning and preparation with a skilled care team, can be a great way to start the recuperating process and ensure a successful recovery. To learn more about discharge planning, Medicare has put out a free resource that can help with a smooth transition back into your home. Your Discharge Planning Checklist is available by visiting www.medicare.gov or by calling 800-228-5993.
Joel Newman is the Director of Business Development for Western Illinois Home Health Care