However long you’re in hospital for, ask your medical team how to take care of yourself when you leave. Ideally get all instructions in writing.
- What aftercare does your doctor recommend?
- How long should your recovery take?
- What should you know about your condition or treatment?
- What lifestyle changes could help you recover?
- What changes would benefit your long-term health?
- What symptoms can you expect when you get home?
- What can you do to relieve them?
- What symptoms may need medical attention?
- If your symptoms get worse when should you get medical attention?
- Who should you contact if this happens?
- What should you do if you’re worried about any symptoms after-hours?
- What activities should you avoid (e.g. exercise or flying)?
- How long should you avoid them for?
- When can you go back to work (if relevant)?
You may have new medicines while you’re in hospital. You need to know about any changes to your medication, the reason for the change, and any side-effects you should look out for.
Be clear on:
- name of the medicine
- strength of the medicine
- what the medicine is for
- how much to take and when
- any special instructions (e.g. take with food)
- start date
- if any of your regular medicines were stopped in hospital, should you restart them? If so, when?
- if you started any new medicines in hospital, do you need to keep taking them? If so, for how long for?
- if stopping a medicine, do you need to be ‘weaned off’ it slowly? In some cases, it can be dangerous to suddenly stop
- could any of the medicines you’re taking interact with each other (this could include supplements, complementary and over-the-counter medicines)?
Make sure you have a follow-up booked with the specialist who treated you. And any other relevant doctors or health professionals.
It’s also important to share any discharge info from your specialist or the hospital with your GP. Your GP co-ordinates your care, so they need to be across everything that’s happening.
As with every other step in this guide, if you have any concerns, ask your medical team before leaving hospital.
Being fully informed will help you focus on your recovery. Which is way better than lying awake worrying about it at 4am when you’re home.
If you’ve already spoken to Healthcare Services (or even if you haven’t) they can help to support you while you’re in, or after you leave, hospital. If they can’t answer your question, they can point you in the right direction.