Hospital to Home - Making the Transition to Home Care
Everyone says, “Home is where the heart is.” But we know that home is also where your comfort zone resides. After a long hospital stay or surgery, helping you return to your home and your daily routine is the next step.
After leaving a medical facility, you will feel vulnerable. Your recovery has not ended simply because you are home. Before leaving the hospital, discuss your home care with your doctor or nurse.
No matter the state of your health, you may need assistance with tasks around the house upon returning to your home. Prepare for your impending return home before you leave the hospital.
Consult Hospital Staff
Perhaps you have concerns about the transition you’d like to discuss with the medical staff. If you do not have family members to call on, you can ask your primary care physician for help, or you can ask your home health caregiver. Just remember that you are not alone, and there is always someone who is willing to help.
Review Medication List
Have a list of all medications you are taking, whether they were given to you in the medical facility or prescribed prior to your stay. Check with a medical professional about any possible drug interactions. Include all over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements as well.
Recruit Help to Get the House Ready
Discuss with your doctor what changes may be necessary for your home to accommodate your recovery needs. Sometimes, you will need to make your home wheelchair accessible or add grab bars to the bathrooms. Seek help from your family to install these items or ask the medical staff for recommendations on a contractor to make the necessary changes for you.
Decide on a Caregiver
Whether you need a part-time or full-time professional caregiver or perhaps you prefer a family member to help you make the transition, be sure that you understand the full extent of the care needed. Decide which type of help you prefer and how often you might need home health services.
A professional caregiver can provide a variety of services that include meal preparation, prescription pick-up, housekeeping, laundry and other personalized care needs when your family member is unavailable. A companion program can help enrich your life through continuous social interactions, so you don’t feel alone when returning home.
Plan for future appointments
Inquire about how your information will be transferred to the follow-up care facility. Before the appointment, call and check to make sure everything has been sent from the previous medical facility so your follow-up appointment is as effective as possible.
If follow-up appointments are needed, plan to have a ride ahead of time if you cannot drive.
Transportation for routine health care appointments is not typically covered by Medicare. However, if regular transportation methods may endanger your health and you need to have a health condition diagnosed or treated, Medicare may cover non-emergency ambulance transportation to and from your healthcare provider. A written order from your doctor will be needed to verify this type of transportation is medically necessary for your health.
Plan for paying the bills
Some of the biggest complications you will face are managing all the invoices and insurance paperwork. Do not be afraid to ask a family member for help if any challenges arise. Decide who in your family is willing to coordinate outside care payments.
Transitions take time
After you’ve returned home, it is only natural to want things to go back to normal. Being home means you can do everything you used to do, right? Unfortunately, this will not be the case for the majority of people.
New lifestyle changes
You may need to make lifestyle changes that can help you prevent more hospital stays in the future. Some changes are simple, like changing your diet or exercise routine. Other, more complicated, changes could mean rehabilitation, additional monitoring or continued treatment. Before leaving the hospital, question the medical staff about the extent of treatment or therapy that is needed to help you improve and recover to provide the best outcome.
Providing the best outcome
If you can, create a home care plan for yourself or have someone help you establish one. Having realistic expectations and knowing the potential challenges you face will help you create the best course of action for yourself and anyone who is caring for you. Your recovery is important, and it begins by simplifying your transition from the hospital to your home.