How to Plan a Successful Recovery After Discharge from Subacute Rehab

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It can be a long and challenging journey for patients recovering from an illness, injury, or a surgical procedure. Many who have been hospitalized will need to transition to a subacute rehab setting to continue their recovery for a safe return back home. The idea of going home is no doubt a welcome thought, but it may also come with fear and anxiety when the recovery process needs to continue after discharge.

“The goal of a subacute setting is to help patients safely return home after discharge from a hospital. We work to help prepare them plan their return through an individualized plan of care so they can achieve as much independence possible,” said Dennis Ng, director of rehabilitation services at Elderwood.

Here are some ways to help plan a successful recovery at home after discharge from subacute rehab:

Follow your doctor’s discharge care plan

Your doctor will work with the Interdisciplinary Team to determine when you are well enough to go home safely – taking into consideration both your skilled needs and the environment to which you are returning. The Interdisciplinary Team will have a detailed discharge care plan for you to follow at every stage of your recovery.

Having an effective discharge care plan will help decrease your chances of needing to return to the hospital. It helps facilitate the recovery process to ensure your continued healing and that prescribed medications are administered properly.

Prepare your surroundings

It is important that the Interdisciplinary Team help you to prepare your home by making sure you’re returning to a clean and safe environment.

Have tripping hazards like rugs and electrical cords removed to prevent falls. If your home has multiple stories and your bedroom is upstairs, consider temporarily using the living room or another space on the ground floor for sleeping to prevent accidents from falling if your condition has limited your mobility. You can also reduce fall risks by reducing your routine living space while you recover. Try and locate your sleeping area close to a bathroom and keep essential items and conveniences close by.

To prevent accidents, consider installing grab bars, handrails or ramps to improve mobility. 

If equipment is needed in your home to continue your recovery, be sure to make space available for items like a step for your bed, a walker, a shower chair, oxygen tank, or specialized furniture like lift chairs or hospital beds if they’re recommended by your physician.

Make sure you have a proper support system at home

Your clinical care team will familiarize themselves with your at-home caregiving team to ensure you have a sound support system when you head home. This is essential for the continued success in your recovery. If you have any limitations that could impact your recovery, it’s important to share those details with your clinical care team.

Your caregiving team can consist of family or close friends who are familiar with your health history and can make aiding in your recovery a priority. If you do not have a family member or friend who can assist in helping, there are arrangements that your clinical care team can help you make for clinical home care.

Here are some common care responsibilities that caregivers may be responsible for during your recovery at home:

  • Personal care includes bathing, eating, assisting with getting dressed, and going to the bathroom. 
  • Household responsibilities like cooking, cleaning, laundry, and shopping.
  • Continued healthcare support is the most critical part of continuing the recovery process. This includes medication management, wound treatment, assistance with medical equipment, and ensuring that follow-up doctor and therapy appointments are kept, including transportation.
  • Emotional support is essential in recovery. Recovery from an illness, injury, or surgical procedure can be mentally draining, and companionship will help lift your mental and emotional state.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle can significantly improve the recovery process. A well rounded diet that is made up of proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy carbs can give you the strength and nutrients you need to continue to heal. 

Keeping your body active will also help aid in the recovery process. It is important to only do activities that have been approved by your doctor and therapy teams. Regularly participating in physical therapy and occupational therapy regimes as prescribed will help you gain strength and recover more completely. 

For specific questions regarding your care options, be sure to check with your doctor or hospital discharge planner. To learn more about subacute rehab options near you, click here.