Returning home from a hospital stay can be an uncertain time. To speed your recovery, follow these smart tips
Coming home after a hospital stay may feel like crossing a finish line. But the race isn’t over just yet. Some steps along the way may have a big impact on your ability to heal. Here are some easy ways to speed your recovery after a hospital visit:
Know the Plan
Before you leave the hospital, you will be given written instructions for any follow-up care. If not, ask your doctor or nurse if you need to keep an eye on indicators like signs of infection or weight changes. Are there foods you should avoid? Are there medications that should be continued, changed, or stopped? When should you schedule your next doctor’s appointment, and with whom? If you have questions about your recovery plan once you’re home, don’t hesitate to call your doctor’s office. Your pharmacist can assist with any questions about medications and side effects to report to your doctor.
Move a Little Every Day
Some physical activity, such as short walks, can help you get back to your usual self. Based on your doctor’s direction, try to move a little every day after you come home, gradually increasing your daily activity. Take it slow, though.
Resume Your Routine
Chances are that a hospital visit has disrupted your sleep schedule. Resuming a normal sleeping routine will help you heal faster and feel better. Get back on your usual schedule as best you can, allowing yourself some downtime to rest in the midmorning and afternoon.
Activate Your Mind
Keep your mind occupied by reading, playing games, doing puzzles, or studying a new subject online. Listen to audio books or podcasts.
Take Your Temperature
If you’ve had surgery, take your temperature two times a day: in the afternoon and at bedtime. Your doctor may recommend a temperature check for up to three weeks after you return home. Immediately tell your doctor if your temperature is above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Monitoring your temperature will help determine if you have any infection.
Give Stitches TLC
If your hospital stay involved stitches, keep them dry, especially in the first 24 hours. Don’t shower or bathe that first day, unless your discharge instructions state that it is okay to do so. Avoid movement or straining the area around the stitches.
Map a Menu for Success
The days, weeks, and months following a hospital stay will ultimately be defined by one thing: rebuilding your strength. In order to do that, you need to fuel your body properly with the right nutrients and minerals. Make sure to discuss a post-hospital recovery plan that includes nutritional guidelines and recommendations, including what to eat and when.