Returning home safely

ThinkstockPhotos-467989391smallCase Management Coordinator Lesley Brinkhuis at St John of God Murdoch Hospital says it is vital that patients, together with their families and friends, have everything in place when they discharge from hospital.

“Going home is often very stressful for patients, especially when they’ve been in hospital for a long time or have had life changing surgery,” Ms Brinkhuis says.

“Being organised will help smooth the transition home.”

“If patients do not have anyone to help and they are unable to organise these aspects of care, there are support agencies that will give them the care they need.”

 Before leaving hospital

  • Medications:
    • Have you received a supply of medication you require?
    • Do you understand how they work and how to take them?
    • Do you need a medication list from pharmacy to help you?
  • Equipment:
    • Have you arranged for any equipment you may need e.g. crutches, shower chair?
  • Are you able to care for yourself at home?
    • If NOT: speak to your nurse or doctor before you leave hospital to enable a social worker or discharge planning nurse to arrange any support services you may need.
  • Do you need a follow up appointment with your specialist?
    • If yes: is it already made or do you need to make it yourself?
    • Do you have your specialist’s contact details?
  • Do you need to make a follow up appointment to see your GP?
    • If yes: when?
  • Have you received information/education on falls prevention whilst you are in hospital?
    • If not – ask!
    • A referral to a physiotherapist or falls clinic may be beneficial.
  • If you have a wound:
    • Have you been given education on how to care for it?
    • Have you been referred to an external provider e.g Health Choices or Silver Chain? If so, do you have contact details?

Day of discharge

  • Make sure you have someone available to take you home and settle you in.
  • Discuss your medications with your nurse or pharmacist and ensure you are confident with all instructions. You should include your family/carer so that they are also aware of any changes/instructions or possible side effects of your medications.
  • Your nurse will work through a discharge check list with you to ensure you have all required equipment, appointments, services in place and that you understand your post discharge care.
  • Your specialist will write a letter to your GP informing them of your stay and any follow up required.

When you are at home

  • Follow your specialist and/or physiotherapist’s advice re: exercise.
  • Keep your medications in a safe place.
  • Take your medications as prescribed. If you are having problems – please contact your specialist or GP directly.  Do not stop taking medication without medical advice.
  • If you get home and find you are struggling to manage your day to day activities, you can:
    • Call WA Regional Assessment Service – 1300 785 415 to self-refer. (HACC)
    • See your GP

Useful contacts

Carers WA 1300 227 377
Crisis Care 9223 1111
The Falls Prevention Clinic 08 9332 0929
Stay on Your Feet WA 1300 30 35 40
Maximum Occupational Therapy Services 9329 9011
St John of God Murdoch Hospital Dietetic Outpatients Clinic 9366 1960

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