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December 8, 2012

From the Office: How to transition successfully from hospital to home

Returning home from the hospital can present many challenges, such as follow-up doctor’s appointments and managing new medications that, if not met successfully, may lead to an unwanted re-admission. According to the Eldercare locator, studies show that one in five Medicare patients are re-admitted to the hospital within 30 days, with half of these being linked to social issues and lack of access to community resources.

Identifying what your needs will be and how they will be met is key in helping to prevent what could be an unnecessary re-admission. Will you be able to return to your own home? Can you stay with family or can family stay with you? Will you need help getting medication, meals, to follow-up doctor’s appointments? These are just some of the things that should be part of your plans.

If you are going to have a planned admission, ask your health care provider how the procedure will affect your ability to care for yourself, if there will be any restrictions and for what length of time. Ask about any special equipment you may need or if you will need physical therapy.

Make sure you follow any preadmission instructions. When you are getting ready to go to the hospital take what is needed including a list of your current medications, insurance information if not already provided, contact numbers, if family or friends aren’t accompanying you, a list of allergies, your Health Care Proxy and Advanced Directives if not already on file. You should also make sure you have your eye glasses, hearing aid and dentures, but may want to entrust these to your family or friend until after the scheduled procedure. Don’t take jewelry, money or other valuable items. Keeping a list of your current medications and allergies with you at all times is a good idea.

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