Patient Advocate For You: What To Do When You Leave The Hospital
You have successfully prepared for your visit to the hospital, you or your loved one have undergone the operation, and you are now recovering in the hospital. Since the procedure was successful and you or your loved one seem fine, you no longer need to worry about anything, right?
On the contrary, the last part of your hospital visit is just as important as any other part of your visit, if not more so. Research shows that patients forget 80% of what they heard during discharge. Three out of four patients who are 64 years or older leave the hospital with an incorrect prescription, or without understanding how to follow their medication regimen post-discharge. Some patients feel better soon after leaving the hospital, and stop taking their medication altogether without consulting their doctor. This is why your preparations to leave the hospital are so important, and why we at CampaignZero want to help you make sure you have everything ready to go home.
4 Patient Advocate Hospital Tips For When You Leave
If you don’t properly prepare for your discharge, you may find yourself having to contact your doctors again, or even be readmitted to the hospital.
1. Take the time you need at discharge
- Ask all the questions on your mind. Now is the time to get all the information you need, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and address concerns.
- The discharge nurse may not have all test results on hand. If you have not received all test results at the time of discharge, make a list of those that need to be tracked down post-discharge.
- Among other complications after hospitalization, patients can leave with an infection or blood clot brewing and not show any symptoms. Ask for a list of symptoms from any potential complications, and call your doctor if you have any problems or concerns.
2. Record discharge instructions
Ask your doctor or nurse if you can make a recording of the discharge instructions or any other conversations you’d like to remember. All smartphones have audio and video recording capabilities, or you can buy a simple digital voice recorder online for less than $30. Recording the instructions is easier and more accurate than trying to take notes by hand, and a great way to ensure that you don’t miss anything important!
3. Check in with your loved one
The first few months after hospitalization can be a difficult time of recovering from the procedures, attending followup appointments, and trying to adjust to everyday life. Your loved one will need extra care and attention during this time.
- For the first month after their hospitalization, try to visit or talk to your loved one at least once a day to ensure they are taking their medication and to check if they are experiencing any signs of complications.
- In the next several months after their hospital stay, try to visit or talk to your loved at least once a month. Again, make sure they are taking their medication and ask them if they are experiencing any complications.
- If your loved one is unable to take care of their health care and other personal needs on their own, arrange for yourself or someone else to stay with them.
4. Be on alert for some surprise costs
- Some medications may not be covered by your insurance. If a prescribed medication is not covered, ask if a substitute is available that your plan will cover.
- Some procedures received while in the hospital may be billed separately from the hospital, and may not be covered by your insurance. If you need to receive such a service, ask your doctor for a referral to a practice that your insurance will cover.