The journey back to the comfort of your home after a hospital stay can bring a sigh of relief. But aside from that, it also entails new challenges and responsibilities.
In this article, we will discuss why this transition matters and provide a comprehensive guide on how to navigate this period effectively.
Why does care transition matter?
The transition from hospital to home is the time in which you’re most vulnerable to complications. A well-managed transition can mean the difference between a quick recovery and a return to the hospital.
After your hospital stay, you have to:
- Adjust to a new routine
- Manage your medications
- Follow up with outpatient care
- Recognize signs and symptoms that may require medical attention
A proper transition allows you not just to leave the hospital but to stay home, regain strength and recover fully.
What to do before exiting the hospital
If you can, have a support person.
Advocating for oneself or having a designated support person can greatly influence the quality of your transition from hospital to home.
This person can help by:
- Asking questions
- Clarifying discharge instructions
- Communicating with healthcare providers
- Making sure nothing is overlooked
Update your personal health resume.
Keep a comprehensive record of your health history, including:
- Recent treatments
This health resume provides future caregivers with a clear picture of your health journey.
Understand your care needs upon discharge.
Before leaving the hospital, ensure that you understand what care needs you will have. See to it that you know if you require services, such as:
- Physical therapy
- Wound care
- Assistance with activities of daily living
Aside from that, know who will be responsible for each aspect, whether it’s a family member, a visiting nurse or a professional caregiver.
Know what to look for and who to contact.
Be informed about what signs and symptoms should prompt a call to the doctor and have a list of contacts for different concerns. Recognize the warning signs of potential complications specific to your condition or surgery.
Understand your medication list.
Medication errors can be a common pitfall during the transition home after leaving the hospital. Understand your medication regimen and see to it that you know the following:
- What each drug is for
- When and how to take the drug
- Potential side effects
How to transition from hospital to home care
Navigating the shift to home care involves several key steps that require careful attention and cooperation from both you and your support network.
1. Establish a plan for the date of discharge.
Coordinate with your healthcare team to determine the best date and time for discharge. The plan should include:
- Home setup
- Immediate care upon arrival at home
2. Prepare your home.
Your living space may need to be adjusted to accommodate your needs post-discharge. Ask your support system to help you in:
- Installing safety rails
- Securing rugs to prevent falls
- Rearranging furniture to create clear pathways
3. Keep an open communication.
Collaborate with family members, home health services and outpatient providers to establish a network of support. Each member of the team should understand their role and responsibilities in your care.
Also, make sure everyone who is involved in your care is on the same page regarding your:
- Health status
- Care needs
- Recovery goals
4. Hire additional aid, if necessary.
Sometimes, the level of care required is beyond what your family and friends can provide. In such cases, hiring additional aid can help for a smoother and safer transition.
These trained caregivers can help you with:
- Personal care
- Medical needs
The transition from hospital to home is a delicate phase that needs thoughtful preparation, vigilant care and a supportive network. This transition isn’t just a single event but an ongoing process of healing, adapting and overcoming challenges. With the right approach, your recovery journey can be a positive and empowering experience.