Going home after a long stay in the hospital can be a huge relief. After all, home is where you truly feel comfortable, safe, and surrounded by familiar memories and faces of your loved ones.
Not only do patients generally feel more secure in their own homes, but it has also been shown that patients who receive home care have lower needs for extra medical procedures, consultations, and use of medical devices than those who stay in the hospital. Plus, they have had similar or better outcomes.
Home care is becoming more commonplace and feels like a comforting step. However, whether you’re the patient or a loved one is, it’s crucial to be realistic about the needs and challenges of transitioning to in-home care.
Here are some tips to thoroughly prepare:
1. Have A Support Person
Patients want to have as much control as they can. However, you need to understand that they might not be in the best frame of mind. So, it’s best to bring a trusted loved one or friend to help you draw up an in-home care plan.
Discuss who’ll be helping you with your extra care needs at home and if your home is actually ready for the transitioning.
2. Consider Hiring A Health Care Provider
When extra care is required at home, it’s important that you find and hire someone you can trust and can provide excellent care for your needs. For instance, finding senior healthcare is important if you can’t be with your elderly parent 24/7 due to other responsibilities.
The hospital may hand you a list of agencies or healthcare professionals suitable for your case. However, don’t just hire anyone. Since these health care providers will spend most of their time with the patient, you need to evaluate your options by talking to family members.
3. Create A Personal Health Resume
Like a work resume, you need to keep a personal document of your health history. This personal health resume should include all the names of all the healthcare providers and physicians that you have consulted as well as all the major medical treatments. Don’t forget to also include all your medications.
You also want to add the reason for your most current hospitalization. All these pieces of info will be essential for your in-house healthcare provider or if you need to return to the hospital due to complications.
4. Understand Your Care Needs
Before transitioning, you or your loved ones should understand your care needs along with who will be fulfilling them.
Possible needs include:
- Assistance with medications
- Regular checking of vitals
- Helps with injections
- Assistance with implants or medical devices, such as catheters
- Assistance with physical therapy and exercise
- Assistance with general household items, such as errand running, grocery, and general care
The one who’ll fulfill these will depend on the level of care needed. For instance, a healthcare professional will mainly fulfill the medical needs, such as injections and medications, while a trusted friend or family member will fulfill general household assistance, such as groceries.
5. Know The Potential Complication And Symptoms
Ensure that you understand possible complications and symptoms you should watch out for should they occur while at home.
Depending on the situation and your sickness, this can include anything from changes in the wound or temperature and shortness of breath to weight gain and abnormal blood pressure.
6. Get A List Of Contact Person
Understanding your potential symptoms and complications is useless if you don’t know who to contact in case you need assistance. Is it your cardiologist or your surgeon? What’s the number of the pharmacy in case you run out of medications? Who do you call in case of emergencies?
Most healthcare companies will provide you phone and email contact so you can easily ask questions or call for immediate help. Such access can greatly help mitigate complications and concerns.
7. Understand Your Medications
While having a medication list is important, you also need to understand what each drug is for, and know when and how each is taken. You also need to track refills, which means that you must consider early refills to avoid running out of them.
To save money and time, you can ask your pharmacist or insurance provider if you can order your medications for a month or two.
8. Prepare Your Home
Before you or your loved one is discharged from the hospital, you need to make sure that everything at home is suitable for safety and comfort.
For instance, you may need to clean the environment first to promote good health and wellbeing. Or, you might need to move some furniture to give the patience ease of access around the house.
You can also buy and place a small fridge near the bed for easy access to food and medical supplies. If needed, you may also need to arrange a hospital bed or some bulky medical equipment and setting them up in your home before discharging. Also, you should consider displaying emergency numbers in the most prominent places.
9. Plan The Next Steps
Plan and understand follow-up visits with specialists and physicians related to your care. Make sure that you have maintenance appointments with your primary doctor so that they’re updated on your latest health situation, too.
You should also ask for any extra resources, such as support communities and groups, that may help with your ongoing recovery needs and life changes. There are even health programs provided to help with changes in work out and diet routines.
While top-of-the-line hospital equipment and accommodations can help in recovery, home is where you can have true peace of mind. With clear health care instructions and thorough preparations, you can make the transition from the stark white hospital room to your memory-filled home.
To have a nice transition from hospital care to in-home care, take it one step at a time. Hence, it’s important that you have a proper plan and you should understand possible implications. Doing so will provide you or your loved ones the confidence and comfy space to heal.