Patients too often leave the hospital without knowing how to care for themselves, leading to a preventable return. Here are tips to improve your chances of a successful recovery at home:
—Be sure you understand your illness and the care you received in the hospital.
—Ask if you will require help at home. Can you bathe yourself? Climb stairs? Will you need bandages changed or shots? If so, do you have a caregiver to help, or will you need to arrange a visiting nurse?
—Repeat back your care instructions, to be sure you understand them.
—Ask for a written discharge plan that lists your medical conditions, your treatments, and the plan for your ongoing care.
—Get a list of all medications, how to use them, and what to do if you experience side effects. Be sure to ask whether to continue medications you were taking before this hospitalization.
—Ask what symptoms suggest you're getting worse and what to do if that happens, especially at night or during the weekend.