If you have a planned surgery, it’s a good idea to prepare yourself ahead of time. There are also things you can do while you are in the hospital to ensure you have the best experience possible. Preparing for discharge can help smooth the transition from hospital to home and ease recovery.
- Practice moving independently before leaving the hospital.
After undergoing surgery, your body might feel a bit different as you recover. While you are still in the hospital and under the care of nurses, practice walking — either unaided or with a cane, walker or crutches. Also, practice sitting and standing to use the toilet; getting in and out of the shower; and going up and down stairs. If you will need a wheelchair, practice moving and doing basic activities in the chair.
- Get your support network ready.
Contact friends and family to tell them about your upcoming hospitalization and anticipated return home. When you are transitioning back to your daily life and activities, it can help to have a support network available if you need any extra help.
- Ask all of your questions and take notes.
Having surgery can be a confusing experience, especially if it is your first time being admitted to a hospital. If you have questions about your procedure, recovery or what to expect, ask. You might find it helpful to jot down the answers, as it can be challenging to remember all of the important information you will receive.
- Understand and follow discharge instructions.
Read, listen to and carefully follow discharge instructions from your doctor and nurses. They may recommend a certain diet that helps aid the body in recovery, or provide specific bathing or wound care instructions. Whatever discharge instructions you are given, keep in mind that they are designed to help you and optimize your recovery process.
- Trust your care team.
“A care team will monitor you throughout your entire stay,” explains Dr. Orr. “Being discharged from their care may cause anxiety, but be assured that your doctor will only release you once he or she believes you are well enough.” Preparing yourself, trusting your care team and taking care of yourself as instructed helps ensure you have the best possible outcome and experience.