You’ve made it through your surgical procedure and hospital stay, but you’re not quite 100% yet.
Your locum tenens hospitalist has given you a series of steps to keep your recovery on track following your discharge.
How can you help them help you and continue to move toward a healthy recovery?
Follow All Directions and Recommendations
Your hospitalist isn’t on a mission to make your life challenging. Their only goal is your good health following your hospital admission.
It’s in your best interest to follow their recommendations.
During your discharge from the hospital, your hospitalist will talk you and your family members through the process and what you’ll need to do to stay on track.
You need to listen, take notes, and implement all of their suggestions. That might include prescription and non-prescription medication, exercises, and diet recommendations.
You should receive these instructions in written form, but don’t make any assumptions. Be ready to take your own notes.
Take Your Medicine
No, you’re not a little kid who has to be reminded to take their medicine, but it’s worth saying here.
Also, after you’re released from the hospital, you may be put on a schedule that’s new, and new habits are hard to make and have stick.
You can use a calendar or your smartphone to help you remember to take your medication when you are supposed to, or you can even use a pill organizer so you can line up your days and not forget anything.
Keep taking the medication—even when you start to feel better. Some medications are prescribed for a certain time period, and stopping or cutting back on the dosage could have negative implications on your health. Discuss any changes after discharge with your regular doctor first.
Ease Back into Your Daily Routine
Maybe you’re someone who doesn’t like to sit around, someone who is used to be physically active or maybe you’re just ready to get back to work.
That doesn’t mean you won’t get there again, but you shouldn’t push yourself. If there are limitations to your routine or activity after your discharge, please follow them.
The doctor recommends them because it’s the best way to help you get healthy faster, not because they want to upset you.
If you had a procedure while at the hospital, you need to realize that they typically require some downtime. Talk to your doctor about how quickly or slowly you should resume your pre-hospital schedule.
The sooner you accept that it will be a little while before you’re back to full strength, the easier it will be to get used to this new way of being.
Keep Track of Your Progress
Grab that smartphone again and keep a daily journal of how you feel, what you eat, how long and how well you sleep, what medications you take, and even your bathroom schedule, if pertinent.
This information will be invaluable when you meet follow-up with your specialist or primary care doctor to discuss your progress and next steps.
Schedule—and Keep—Follow-up Appointments
Speaking of meeting with your regular doctor, be sure that you follow-up in a timely manner.
During discharge, you’ll likely receive a first appointment to check-in and see how you’re progressing. When you see your regular physician again, definitely have your questions ready, along with your progress calendar.
Take a trusted family member or friend to not only drive (because you may not be up to it yet) but to act as a second set of ears for any feedback the physician provides.
Ultimately each situation is unique and your discharge plan is built with the focus on helping you take the necessary steps in your care.