In many cases, patients need extended medical care at home following surgery or during periods of prolonged illness. If you or someone close to you is at risk of this, it can be very helpful to educate yourself, in advance, about the particulars of obtaining nursing care and therapy at home. Providing the needed amount of medical and personal care for a patient is often unmanageable for family members. Home care can be a good alternative in these situations.When should a patient receive post-hospital in-home nursing or therapy?
- After surgery
- While dealing with a prolonged or chronic illness
- When mobility is impaired
- While adapting to a recently diagnosed disability or illness
Patients who do not receive appropriate support at home after discharge from the hospital frequently have severe difficulty in managing their own aftercare. In fact, it is not uncommon in such cases for people to re-injure themselves or to unnecessarily suffer increased stress and pain. Not surprisingly, setbacks from such effects can result in rehospitalization. Patients, and families of patients, who find themselves in this highly-stressful rotation in and out of the hospital, are intensely challenged to cope with this circumstance.
What risks should patients be aware of after discharge?
- Inability to meet basic personal needs (bathing, food preparation, etc.)
- Injuries caused by falling
- Inconsistent tracking of times, types, and dosages of prescribed medications
Obtaining the appropriate in-home medical support for you or your loved one significantly reduces the risk of additional physical injury or unnecessary readmission to the hospital. Therefore, be sure to advocate for yourself and let your physician know of any concerns you have about how to manage medical care at home after discharge from the hospital. Explain why you’re interested in home care, and express that you would like to have it arranged prior to release from the hospital.
How can home care help you?
- Provide support and education to prevent falls
- Ensure that medication is taken properly
- Maintain and educate on wound care
- Promote safety in daily activities and help increase independence
- Monitor progress and advocate for patients to ensure that recovery is advancing properly
Though advanced planning is not always possible in medical situations, it can be helpful to prepare for the unexpected and know your options. Ultimately, you are your best advocate, so if home care or another option sound right to you, be sure to discuss with your doctor.