If you have a loved one in the hospital, you may not know how to prepare for their return home. After a hospital stay or surgery, it is essential to be in comfortable surroundings and to follow all discharge instructions to help in the recovery process.Here are some tips to help ease your journey home, or when you’re caring for someone:
- Get Up and Get Dressed - You should adhere to your routine as much as possible. If your doctor permits, get up, get washed, and get dressed. Research shows that staying in bed can lead to loss of mobility, fitness, and muscle strength, making it hard to regain independence.
- Sleep - Your body needs time to restore and rejuvenate. Good quality sleep is vital when recovering from a serious illness or injury. Be sure your bedroom is quiet and comfortable.
- Eat Well - There is evidence proving that food is medicine! You need to consume foods that have the right nutrients to regain strength and energy. Older adults are at a higher risk of not getting proper nutrition due to loss of appetite, fatigue, and inability to shop and prepare meals.
- Ask for Help - Initially, you may need help bathing and dressing. Many hospitals and healthcare providers can arrange to have visiting aides come to your home to assist with your Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). Home health care can be an integral part of a discharge plan for those returning home from the hospital. Caring for a loved one after a hospital stay can be complicated and confusing for an untrained family member.
- Keep Moving - You may not be physically able to enjoy your favorite activities, but you can take a walk around in your house or yard (with assistance, as needed) to keep moving. Even small steps can make a big difference!
- Engage Your Brain - Enjoy books, puzzles, and games to keep your brain sharp. FaceTime and speaking with family members of all ages can do wonders to boost your mental health.
- Schedule and keep any follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider. Be sure to bring a list of any questions you may have. And, don't hesitate to call your provider if you have any concerns about your recovery, prior to your visit.
You can download this Discharge Planning Checklist from Medicare for patients and their caregivers preparing to leave a hospital or skilled nursing facility. Print this checklist and complete it before any hospital stays. See the list of resources on the last page to learn about agencies that provide community services such as home-delivered meals and transportation to appointments.
You may already have a home-delivered meals benefit as part of your Medicare Advantage health plan. Home-delivered meals provide not only nutrition but can improve the quality of life for those who wish to continue to live independently.
Download our guide to learn how to receive home-delivered meals!