Here are tips for staying healthier once you head home after a hospital visit.
Have you recently been in the hospital? Whether it was a trip to the emergency room or you were admitted for an illness, injury or scheduled procedure, the last place you want to be is back in the hospital again.
As many as one in five patients are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge, according to reports by the Federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Getting hospitalized and re-hospitalized is stressful for both patients and their families. It is also costly and is often associated with an increased risk of infection.
Making sure you know what to do once you leave the hospital is the best way to avoid a hospital readmission. Keep these tips in mind the next time you’re heading home from the hospital:
Understand Discharge Information:
- Ask questions if you are unsure of anything explained to you.
- Repeat information so you understand it.
- Have someone with you as a second set of ears.
- Request that instructions be given to you in writing so you can refer back to them later.
Make a Plan for When You’re Home:
- Figure out who will help you and what you need to do to stay healthy.
- If you need medical equipment or supplies, find out where to get it and how to use properly.
- Keep a list of medications, treatments and appointments so you don’t forget anything.
- Take medications as prescribed. Write down what, when and how to take each medicine.
- Keep all follow-up appointments.
- Learn the danger signs that may indicate your condition is getting worse and what you should do if you notice particular signs.
See Your Doctor:
- Visit your primary care physician within 7 days of an ER visit or hospital discharge, or as instructed.
- Arrange to have your hospital records shared with your doctor.
- Tell your doctor about any new medications you are taking or symptoms you are having.
Being released from the hospital can be overwhelming. As much as you may be looking forward to being home, it’s important to follow the instructions from the medical staff that were given to you prior to you leaving the hospital. This will make it more likely you won’t have to go back to the hospital again.
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Date Last Reviewed: January 27, 2022
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Dietary Review: Perry Pitkow, MD