Health Care Giver giving medicine to senior resident

10 Tips for Returning Home After the Hospital

Coming home from the hospital after a scheduled or unscheduled stay can be a scary time as you recover from a procedure or illness and regain your strength. Whether you are the patient returning home or caring for a loved one, here are 10 tips to help make your recovery safe and comfortable:

1. Follow Doctor’s Orders

One of the first and most important things is to follow your discharge instructions given to you by the hospital. Keep in contact with your physician, especially if any new symptoms arise.

2. Take Your Medications

Along with your discharge instructions from the doctor, be sure to take your medications as prescribed. The hospital will give you a list of medications you should be taking. Some may be new medications. Have a plan to pick up new medications on your way home or designate someone to do it for you. 

3. Schedule Your Followup

Make an appointment to see your primary care physician (PCP) within 7 days of discharge. This appointment is often scheduled for you while you’re in the hospital. It is very important that you keep this appointment, so that you and your PCP can manage your recovery.

4. Get Personal Care Assistance

You may need assistance with your personal care while you regain your strength. If you already receive services from Home Care by Wesley, be sure to let them know so your care plan can be adjusted if necessary. If you are not receiving these services, contact us at (206) 870-1127 to arrange home care services for the first 1-2 weeks for assistance with personal care needs.

5. Be Aware of Challenges to Mobility

Even a brief hospital stay causes loss of strength and endurance. Be prepared to need assistance moving about to avoid falls. Having caregiver checks throughout the first week or so is often the best course to stay safe. Have someone with you when you walk outside or to dining.

6. Get Your Home Ready

Getting your home ready after you have been in the hospital can be a lot of work. Prepare your home ahead of time if your hospital stay is planned. If your hospital stay was unplanned, have family or friends prepare your home for you. Ask your doctor, nurses or physical therapist about getting your home ready for your return. You may or may not need all of the suggestions listed below. 

7. Make it Easy on Yourself

Make sure everything you need is easy to get to and on the same floor where you will spend most of your time. Stock up on toiletries and easy-to-prepare foods. Make sure everything is easy to reach without having to bend down or reach up high. Keep your phone within reach or easy to find. Place a chair with a firm back in the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and other rooms you will use. This way, you can sit when you do your daily tasks. If you will be using a walker, attach a small basket to hold your phone, a notepad, a pen and other things you will need to have close by. You can also wear a fanny pack!

8. Keep Good Nutrition

Proper nutrition is always important to regain your health. Eat small, frequent meals, stay well hydrated (try to keep your urine output very light yellow or almost clear, not dark!).

9. Reduce Fall Risks

During recovery, it is more important now than ever to keep tripping hazards out of your home! Arrange furniture to avoid tripping, and maintain open pathways around your home. Be extra careful around pets, as they may unintentionally get in the way. Roll up loose throw rugs and maintain good lighting in doorways and hallways. Try to avoid carrying much when walking around–you need your hands to help you balance. Lastly, look for ways to make bathroom time safer: use non-slip mats, install safety/grab bars (grab bars are pre-installed in your bathroom at all Wesley locations) and avoid using towel racks and shower rods as grab bars. They are not intended to support your weight.

10. Consider Home Health care

The hospital may make a referral for home health nursing or therapy. The home health agency will contact you to schedule the admission appointment, usually within 1-2 days of your discharge home. Home health care is covered by Medicare or insurance and provides intermittent visits in your home with 24/7 phone access to a licensed nurse. We hope you will choose Wesley Home Health!

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