I’ve been speaking of being in transition and would note that any time you are in a transition period there are risks. This is true not just in health care, but in life.
One transition that I deal with commonly is when a patient is discharged home from the hospital after an inpatient stay.
If you are unable to do these things yourself because of your health I urge you to take the time to designate a friend or family member to handle them for you.
- Know any activity restrictions. Are you able to shower? Are you able to bear weight? Do you have any weight lifting restrictions? These are all things you may want to be asking depending on why you were admitted.
- Know any diet restrictions. Hopefully if you were given any new restrictions someone educated you before you were discharged. However, even if they did there is probably more to learn. Ask your doctor for additional resources and/or even a referral to a dietitian if appropriate.
- Know your medications. Know what you were taking before you were admitted and know what changes, if any, your doctor wants you to make to your medications when you get home. The best way to refer to your medications is by the generic name and in parenthesis list common brand names. This helps eliminate risk of taking duplicate medications. If you were started on new prescriptions have them filled as soon as possible.
- Know what symptoms to monitor for and which symptoms you should call MD with or return to the emergency department with.
- Know when you should follow-up with your doctor. Your family doctor may not have been the one who saw you in the hospital so it is important to see him or her so that he is aware of the changes to your health. Sometimes you may have to follow up with your family physician as well as multiple specialists.
I’m glad if these five things seem obvious. That means you are on top of it and shouldn’t have any details of your care fall through the cracks.
What tips do you have for managing the transition of hospital to home?
Feature photo by Jon Butterworth