Take Care of Your Health After a Hospital Visit

You’re glad to be back home after a hospital stay. But now’s the time to make sure you stay on track to heal. Review paperwork you’ve been given. Do you know what warning signs to watch? Do you know who to call with questions and concerns, and an after-hours phone number?  

Other steps to take: 

  • Schedule your follow-up doctor’s visit, most often about a week to 10 days after your hospital stay. Make sure to keep this important appointment. Remember to take all discharge paperwork with you.  
  • During that visit, ask your doctor for a full medication review. That’s especially critical if new meds were added. Be sure your doctor knows all the drugs you are taking by name. Include over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and supplements. The combination can be harmful. 
  • Talk to your doctor to find out if home health care is needed. If needed, make sure it has been ordered. If it hasn’t started, follow up. 
  • Keep on top of any orders and delivery for medical equipment, such as a wheelchair, walker or oxygen.  

Safe at Home 
Your home needs to be free of safety hazards as you recover. Avoiding falls is vital. Look at hazards like electrical cords, wiring and throw rugs. Make sure small pets don’t trip you up. In the bathroom, consider adding grab bars in the bath, and get a shower seat, if needed. You might also put a night light in the bathroom to guide your way if you need to use it in the night. Think about the help you may need with activities of daily living. That involves cooking, bathing, dressing and grooming. Ask for help if you need it. 

Emotional Health 
“It’s so important to be aware of your emotional health after a hospital stay,” said Blair Bisbee, a licensed clinical social worker who helps members with the transition from hospital to home and provides any needed follow up after discharge. “Many times, receiving a new diagnosis can cause sadness, depression or anxiety.”  

That often happens with heart problems like congestive heart failure or other major health concerns, such as a cancer diagnosis. Ask your doctor for help. They may refer you to a local group such as the American Heart Association   or American Cancer Society  , which have many resources for patients and caregivers. 

While helping members after a hospital stay, Bisbee shares several tips to stay positive.  

  • Start a gratitude journal to keep your focus on the positive. 
  • Take time for the things you enjoy like crafting and other hobbies, church, spirituality, volunteering, etc.  
  • Look for support groups in your area. Sometimes having a group of supportive people who feel the same way you do can really help.  
  • Keep strong connections with friends and family. 
  • Exercise safely, following your doctor’s guidance.  
  • Eat well. There is a lot of research telling us that what we eat affects our brain and cognitive function. 
  • Ask your doctor about referrals to behavioral health providers in your area. 

Get Some Support 
The Family Caregiver Alliance   offers tips for caregivers and patients to ease the process from hospital to home.  

Many communities have a wide range of resources including support groups for caregivers and families helping someone with an illness.  

Important Plan Information

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