After Your Hospital Stay
As you continue to get better and prepare to leave the hospital, keep in mind:
- When and how to get to your follow-up appointment
- Your list of medications and how to take them You may choose to fill your medications before you leave the hospital (ask your nurse for more details)
- What problems to look for and who to call if they occur
- What help and tools you will need at home and how to get them, such as crutches, oxygen or other medical equipment and supplies
- Ways our staff will follow up with you after you leave
- Resources that are available to you such as community support, phone numbers for our staff and emergency contacts
Identify Your Caregiver
Sometimes, patients ask family members or friends to help them manage their health and daily activities at home. If you do not have someone that can help, please let our staff know so we can assist you in getting the help you need. If you do have someone in mind, involving them as you get ready to leave the hospital can make it a lot easier to recover. We highly encourage you to ask for someone’s help and we call this person your “patient caregiver.”
- A person or group of people who you have asked to assist you as you recover and we will keep their name in your medical record
- Someone you trust and are able to include in your talks with doctors, nurses and pharmacists
- They may be a family member, friend and/or neighbor
It is important for you and your patient caregiver to discuss your needs and be on the same page about what help you may need as you get better. For example, your caregiver may, but doesn't have to:
- Speak with your doctors, nurses and pharmacists about your care
- Provide emotional and physical help such as feeding, bathing, walking, filling out menus and receiving updates
- Work with others to schedule follow-up phone calls and visits, which may include getting home or getting to and from your appointments
- Understand your medications, follow-up care and plan for home
Manage Your Medications
It is important that you or your patient caregiver provide a list of your medication(s) and allergies. This is helpful for us to know so that we continue all necessary medications you were taking at home. Your doctor may adjust your medications while you are in the hospital based on your needs.
We know that information about the different medications you already take or will need to take can be confusing. So, we want to make sure you understand your prescriptions and that we answer any questions you may have.
Some questions you might want to ask about your medications are:
- Why am I taking this medication?
- How do I take this medication and for how long?
- How will my body react to this medication?
- What are some things I need to know or do while taking this medication?
- Can I have my new prescriptions filled at the hospital before I leave?
- Who do I talk to if I have a problem or question about my medications?
As you get ready to leave the hospital, for your convenience, many of our hospitals have a program called Sentara To Home. This program can assist you with filling your medications before you leave the hospital. Ask your nurse for more details.
When you leave the hospital, there may be changes to your medication list. Your doctor and nurses will review your medications with you and give you papers that will explain your medications. Remember that these are your new instructions and replace what you were following before you were admitted. It is very important that you understand and take your medications as prescribed on this new list. This will help you stay on track with your recovery. If you think you will have any problem getting your medications after you leave, or have questions, talk to a member of our staff.
It is very important that you come to your follow-up appointment as your doctor will examine you and review your treatment plan to ensure you are recovering. This will help us address any problems that may cause you to return to the hospital and adjust your plan of care to prevent that from happening.
You may also receive follow-up phone calls after you leave the hospital. These calls will help us to check on you and make sure you are doing well and have everything that you need.