What Happens When You Go Home from the Hospital?

Maybe you had surgery, or some sort of exploratory procedure. You might have been battling an infection, or maybe you were just there while they ran an assortment of tests. There are many reasons you might have been hospitalized.

And now it’s time to go home from the hospital.

Now what?

The thing is – during your stay in the hospital, there were people around to take care of you. Your nurses stopped by a few times each day, and would even arrive after you pressed your button. The doctor (maybe yours, but probably not) stopped in to check on you. Your surgeon stopped by to look at your incision. Other therapists may have dropped by. Maybe you had visitors, too.

But now you’ll return home and you may be fending on your own.

If you are lucky enough to have an attentive and present spouse, partner, or other loved one, then this may not be a problem for you.

But what will you do if you don’t have someone right there to help?  If you live alone, or your loved one works all day, then it won’t be so easy for you.

  • Who will fill your prescriptions?
  • Who will bring food to your house or do the shopping?
  • Who will drive your car?
  • Who will help you get to the bathroom, or get dressed, or fix meals, or do laundry, or …?  At first you’ll be wobbly and weak. Who will do those things until you get your sea legs back?
  • Who will keep track of the kids, get them off to school, put them to bed at night, nag them about their homework?
  • Who will feed the cat, or dog, or parakeet? 
  • Who will let the dog out (then back in, then back out, then back in… you know what I mean!)
  • Who will answer the door when well-meaning (or nosey!) neighbors stop by?

I often hear the statement, “If I need a patient advocate, I’ll just work with the one in the hospital!” 

But what if your need is outside the hospital?  Or – a difficult situation that happens every day – what if you are the child of the patient, and Mom or Dad lives elsewhere, has been hospitalized, and now you need someone to keep track of that transition home?

Call a patient advocate, and if you can, call him or her BEFORE you are hospitalized.  Learn what they can do to help you during your return-to-home transition time.

The peace-of-mind will make it worthwhile, and you’ll be back on your feet far quicker than you expected.

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