How to Make the Transition from Hospital to Home Easier

When the time comes for a loved one to transition from hospital to home, there are many things to consider and to take care of. The needs of the individual combined with the equipment and space needed for all can seem to be a monumental hurdle to jump, and it is. But, by utilizing the expertise of people whose job is to aid clients with making this change easier, it can be a lot less daunting. Writing for The Huffington Post, Anita Kamiel, RN, MPS, says, “The family and the patient must be fully involved in the discharge planning process. It is crucial that there be a point person in the family for care during the transfer who has knowledge of actual transportation arrangements and any home care set in place. They must have a list of all medications and dosages and the reason for each as well as an understanding of any possible side effects.”

“They must be knowledgeable of any symptoms that are warning signs of anything more serious in order to be able to contact the doctor before a situation gets serious. The patient must realize that their regular doctor may not be aware or have access to the medical information pertaining to their hospital stay. The patient must update the doctor and transmit any medical records pertaining to the stay.”

“Finally, the patient and their family must make the recommended follow-up appointments with specialists in order to treat any chronic condition uncovered or the one which led to the hospitalization.”

Talk to a Professional

Making the easiest and safest transition from hospital to home is not a do-it-yourself-type project. It is imperative to consult the service of someone professionally trained to ensure all the t’s are crossed and the i’s are dotted, so to speak. Lifescript.com has some advice for the initial stages of making this transition.

“Make sure you talk to a discharge planner, a hospital worker who helps plan a smooth transition home. There are a lot of details to work out and the sooner you start, the better.”

First, lifescript.com says, you need to order all needed equipment and supplies. If your loved one can receive agency services, this professional will assist you with finding the right one for their needs. Some questions you need to ask: Will I need a hospital bed? Shower chair? Oxygen supply? What other equipment do I need, and where can I get it? What supplies do I need? Will insurance cover what I need?

Another important preparation step, they continue, is to ensure your home is safe and comfortable for the patient. Make sure you inquire about special modifications that may need to be done.

Stay on Schedule

Another important item to take care of is ensuring your loved one stays on schedule for medication, physical therapy, and any other procedures they received while in the hospital.

Eldercare.gov writes, “It is important to be taking the right medications, at the right time and in the right amount. Here are some questions to ask that can help you do this job well: What new medications will I take? Should these medications be taken with meals (and or) at certain times? Do they have any side effects? Do I get these medications from my pharmacy or my hospital? Will my insurance pay for these medications? If not, are there generic alternatives?”

These are just a few of the questions one should ask regarding medications when making the transition from hospital to home, however.

Making a successful transition from hospital care to home care requires the cooperation of health care professionals, discharge professionals, the family who will give the care, and the patient. Every effort must be made to make the change as seamless and as comfortable as possible so the patient’s transition is successful.

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