As your hospital stay comes to an end, it’s crucial that you prepare yourself for paying close attention to your discharge instructions and asking the right questions. Here’s a simple checklist to review as you go over your discharge instructions with your doctors and nurses.
Do you know your limitations? What are you not allowed to do while you’re home? Can you go up and down the stairs? Can you eat any food or drink you want? When can you resume normal activities such as returning to work, chores at home exercising
Do you have a caretaker? Is someone there to check in on you and help you get around? Do you need someone to do your grocery shopping and assist you while you’re recovering at home? Will you need help leaving? Will you need help driving to pick up prescription medication then to and from all of appointments?
Is your home prepared? If your allowed to climb stairs are you set up with all of your
necessities downstairs in your home? Do you need walking assistance from a cane, crutches or walker? If so ask the healthcare team where you can get those items.
Do you know how to care for your wounds/incisions? Make sure you were well aware of how to care for your surgical incisions. Do you have all the materials you need? Do you know how to properly clean and bandage your wound? Do you know what warning signs to look for in case of an infection? Have your healthcare team show you or have them watch you change your dressing and provide guidance so you feel confident in your abilities.
Do you know your medications? Do you know the brand name and generic name of your prescriptions? Do you know how much, how often and for how long you should be taking the medication? Are you allowed to continue medications from before your hospital stay such as previous prescription medications, over the counter medications, vitamins or herbs? Can you take the medication with any food or drink?
Do you have contact information? If you experience any problems or side effects or if you need to reach out for questions make sure you know whom to call once you’ve left the hospital.
Follow up appointments? When do you schedule those and how do you call to make the appointment? Are there any other test you need once you leave the hospital and are you waiting to find out any test results at this time? If so who were you called with the results?