When someone is in the hospital, the doctors main goal and responsibility is to see that the patient recovers. However, without proper post hospitalization care, the patient may end up back in the hospital. For a complete recovery, an effective post hospitalization care plan needs to be instituted.
Post hospital syndrome
In the first weeks after a patient is discharged from the hospital, up to about seven weeks, the patient is at greater risk of becoming ill again. He’s in a vulnerable state, and he might end up back in the hospital with something completely different than what he entered with the first time. This is post hospitalization syndrome.
While for any discharged patient the initial urgency has ceased, he may still be dealing with some after effects of his illness, which can easily reclaim his health if not properly dealt with. Also, being in the hospital disrupts any patient’s regular sleeping, eating and living patterns, which can cause great physical and emotional upheaval which may not be so obvious on the surface. This can make him more prone to contracting new illnesses.
Once the seven weeks have passed, the patient is considered past post hospitalization syndrome and out of danger.
How to provide proper post hospitalization care
Here are 6 ways that you can take good care of your patient so he’s more likely to fully recover once he’s discharged from the hospital and less likely to end up back there:
- Have a list of people ready to help out when you need it. One person can’t bear the complete burden herself, so be prepared with others to come to your aid when necessary.
- Make sure you have the names of all of the people involved in the care of the patient, from the time he’s in the hospital – doctors, nurses, social workers, therapists and anyone else. That way you can liaise with all of them to know exactly what the process is and what kind of care the patient needs. You also have someone to turn to with questions. This might not be so simple when you’re emotionally involved in caring for the patient, and you may be able to get a case manager assigned from the hospital.
- Make sure you have all of the necessary equipment so you can properly care for the patient when he returns home. Finalize this while still in the hospital so you’re totally ready when the discharge comes.
- Prepare the right food. Proper nutrition is a key element of anyone’s health, and when someone is recovering from illness, he might need a specialized diet, whether low salt, low sugar, or something else. Even on a regular diet, keep it high in nutrients and low on fat and sugar.
- Stick to a routine. Get the patient to sleep on time and out in the sunlight during the day. Serve meals at regular intervals.
- Exercise, or at least move, as much as possible. Lethargy does not promote good health. Get the patient out of bed, and if approved, walking.
Often, the first step outside of the hospital is to a rehab facility. At Sinai Post Acute Care Rehab Center, we offer excellent post hospitalization care so know your loved one is well-cared for in the weeks after discharge.