Why has there been a reduction in hospital readmission rates across the country? Experts say this is due in part to the higher level of professional and compassionate home care that patients are now receiving once they leave the hospital.
 
Indeed, the hospital to home care transition is a vital part of the recovery process, and one that needs to be addressed before that move is made if at all possible.
 
Planning Ahead

Discharge of a patient from the hospital often happens with little notice. Because of this, it often becomes the patient’s role to speak up about what happens next. He or she will need to be sure everything is in place prior to actually going from the care of so many health professionals to none, or, hopefully at least one.
 
The latter is preferred in many cases, and can be covered by insurance in some cases….or at least initially during the healing process. To become informed, talk to your doctors before intake and before you are experiencing the aftermath of an acute stay, one that often includes surgery.
 
Recovery Talk

When you have that discussion about recovery, find out what you will need in terms of professional after care during that period of time. With the help of your physician or a nurse in the know or even a social worker, seek an approval from your insurance for the proper amount of time to be accompanied by a certified home heath care specialist who will look after you. Do this before you even enter the hospital.
 
Another way to go, especially if you are being cared for in the hospital because of an emergency, is to talk to someone on the hospital staff while you are still there who can help make the transition as seamless as possible. That person can be the in-house social worker, a patient’s advocate or the discharge manager, among others. And if you are not up for that discussion at the time, appoint a family member to discuss the process on your behalf.
 
Being Prepared

In addition to finding the right medical professional to accompany you at home and to continue administering to your health care needs after a hospital visit, you might also need to procure certain equipment to get you through this next phase. That equipment can include anything from home oxygen units to walking assistance such as a cane or a rolling walker. You may also need to make your bathroom user friendly, too, by obtaining a shower stool or some other helpful contraption that will make adjusting to your home all over again as easy as can be.
 
Finally, remember that your care is not complete even when you are out of the hospital and in your abode recuperating during the recovering process. You will need to continually confab with your home health care worker to be sure he or she is on the same page as you are. The two of you will want to understand your needs together as one cohesive unit, be that about what you can eat, what medications are to be taken and when, and what safety precautions need to be followed at all times.
 
A Smooth Transition
After all, you can never be too prepared for this phase of recovery. And who wants to have to go back to the hospital until you get it right?
 

Freelance travel writer Jane Lasky, contributes to publications such as Travel + Leisure, Vogue and Esquire. Her weekly sojourning column ran in 40 newspapers for 20 years. Jane is anything but an accidental tourist and always travels with her pillow. Check out her articles on Examiner.com.
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