Making the Move Home Smoother
Sunday, August 19 2012 2:00 AM
If you or a loved one has stayed in a hospital or rehabilitation center for any length of time, you know that there are many considerations when it’s time to go back home. As hard as we try, some things might fall through the cracks. Lack of preparation or planning can sometimes even mean delays in moving home, difficulties during the first days home or a return to the rehabilitation center or hospital.
Healthcare staff and other groups studying transitions are putting a great deal of effort into identifying what can assist in facilitating better transitions, because it’s such a crucial time. As a consumer of healthcare services, you play a large role in the success of the transitions.
There are a number of things you can do to help transitions go smoothly:
- When you are admitted for care, share all medications, supplements, vitamins and other healthcare-related products/services you use on a regular basis and those you use infrequently.
- Share your goals and wishes for the transition with everyone who is helping. When you talk with staff members who are assisting with your transition, share every detail you can think of related to what you would like to happen. It is helpful for family members to be present with you during this time to help you remember things you may accidently forget to mention.
- Having concerns about the transition process is normal. Sharing those concerns in a timely manner is important so they can be addressed while you are still under the care of hospital or rehabilitation center staff.
- An appointment with your doctor will be scheduled to follow up on your progress. It’s important that you attend that appointment to help identify barriers to healing that may not be detected any other way. Timing of the appointment is also important in order to help catch potential issues early. Even if you feel better, attending that appointment without delay is key to your success.
- Those who have the best rehabilitation experiences are most often those who take an active part in the solution. You should have time while recuperating to learn more about your condition and what you can do to improve your quality of life. Ask your care provider to help you find this information. Ask for clarification if there is something you don’t understand.
- The presence of family and friends is especially important when we are vulnerable due to illness or injury. It is also important that they are able to support you and participate in your healing process. However, it is important that you follow the discharge plan created with your professional caregivers. If you feel that the discharge plan and the good intentions of your support system are not in sync, share that with those helping you plan. Modifications are always possible, as long as your needs are being met.
All needs in a transition are important. Care providers work hard to meet those needs as they understand them. Please help them understand what is unique about your needs so they can support you.
By Tami Haugen-Lund, CSA
Director, Home- and Community-Based Services
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