Transitioning home after hospital discharge

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So you’re going home! That’s wonderful news! Now what? There is a chance that settling back into your routine may look a little different as you continue to recover. This critical step in your recovery process can feel overwhelming, so we created a resource to help you to combine all the new information you collected while away from home  with the resources you feel that you need at home into a plan that supports your recovery and keeps you out of the hospital. Sometimes the team at the facility where you are receiving care can help you plan and help to answer many of your questions. You may have other questions though that these professionals are not able to help you answer. Below are categories designed to help you plan for details that you may not have considered yet.

Prescription Medications
  • Do you have any questions about how and when to take medications prescribed to you during your hospital stay?
  • Do you have a complete list of medications including those that you started taking while in the hospital and those that you took prior to being admitted?
  • Do you have any questions about how any new medications might interact with medications that you took prior to coming to the hospital?
  • Do you have any questions about which doctor will prescribe you your medications?
  • When and how will you obtain your medications? 
  • Once you have your medications, how will you organize them so you follow the dosing schedule you were provided? 
  • Who is responsible for administering medications daily?
  • Do you know which medications need to be taken with food or water or on an empty stomach?
  • Who is responsible for obtaining refills? 
Consider writing down the answers to these questions so that you can prioritize the parts that are most immediate. 
  • Is there food at home that you want to eat?
  • Does the food you have available meet your nutrition needs for healing and recovery? 
  • Do you know what you are planning to eat for the first few weeks? 
  • Do you have a plan for breakfast? Lunch? Dinner? Snacks?
  • Who will do the grocery shopping and when? 
  • Do you have a meal prep plan? Who is responsible for preparing your meals and how long do you think you might need this assistance?
Consider writing out a meal plan that includes three meals plus snacks per day. Take some time to think through what you could eat and what you’ll need to shop for so that you can organize the help you may need. 
  • Do you know how much water you should drink on a regular basis so that you can avoid constipation and dehydration (both of which can delay your recovery)?
  • Do you have a plan for how and when you will drink the recommended amount of water everyday?
  • Do you have options for other beverages in case you need to limit your caffeine or soft drink intake?
Consider making a hydration plan that includes a water bottle with a measurement on it so that you can keep tabs on how much you have had over the course of your day.
  • Do you know how much sleep you need on a regular basis?
  • Is your preferred sleeping location accessible to you based on your current mobility ability?
  • Do you have any new positioning needs based on your current status to help you achieve an acceptable level of comfort? (Pillows? Wedges? Hospital-grade adjustable height bed? Special cushion or mattress?)
Consider establishing a routine to support a normal sleep cycle. Turn off all devices at least 90 mins before bedtime, take a bath or shower, drink some tea, read. Try to do the same thing every night so that your body can readjust and recover more quickly. 
  • Do you have access to the bathroom you will use at home for toileting?
  • Will you be using any equipment that can pose a barrier to accessing your bathroom? (Wheelchair? Walker?)
  • Will you need any equipment for your toileting needs outside of your bathroom (bedside commode? Urinal? Bedpan?)
  • Will you need any equipment for your toileting needs inside of your bathroom (Elevated toilet seat? Commode chair? Non-slip material in the tub?)
  • Will you be able to access your shower?
  • Is the floor in your bathroom free of any clutter and throw rugs?
  • Will you need any equipment to support you getting a shower? (Shower chair or bench?)
  • Do you have grab bars in the bathroom to assist with getting on and off the toilet or in and out of the shower?
  • Will you need the assistance of another person to get to the bathroom or for your toileting hygiene needs?
  • Will you need the assistance of another person for your bathing and/or showering needs including getting in and out of the shower and dressing? 
  • If you need help from another person, what tasks will you need their help with and when will they be available to help you? 
Consider making a plan related to your hygiene needs so that you can plan for the types of equipment you may need, how you will obtain that equipment and how you will obtain the help you may need from another person?
Mental health 
  • How do you feel about your recent hospital stay?
  • What will your day-to-day activities include at home?
  • What are your goals related to your recovery?
  • How is your routine different now compared to before your hospital stay?
  • What resources do you need to help you get back to your daily routine?
  • Do you have someone to talk to about this? Consider writing down any new habits you’d like to form or any new activities you’d like to pursue so that you can determine who to best help you achieve these goals.
Physical health and mobility
  • Do you have any questions about the exercise plan you should continue when you get home?
  • Will you need any special equipment to carry out your exercise plan?
  • Will you need formal home health services to continue your physical or occupational therapy needs?
  • Will you be going to an outpatient physical or occupational therapy clinic?
  • Do you need the assistance or support of another person to carry out your exercise routine?
  • Will you need transportation to a clinic, gym or community center to participate in your exercise plan?
Consider what level of physical activity and exercise that you are willing and able to do on a daily basis. This can help you organize a feasible schedule so that you can  regain your strength and develop a plan to support and sustain your recovery. 

There is much to think about for your optimal recovery. Take one section at a time and make a plan so that you can have important conversations with your family and friends for your support. 

We are also happy to help. At YouMeCare we want to help you get home and stay there so that you can do what you want to do when you want to do it. Call us anytime. We are ready to help!