After a stay in the hospital, the trip home is welcome. But for patients healing from an injury, recovering from surgery or dealing with a chronic illness, it’s important that the move from hospital to home be managed carefully, often with the help of a home healthcare nurse.
Lisa Kristosik, chief operating officer for Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio, said the homecare professionals of the VNA of Ohio's Home Healthcare program can help with the transition.
At a patient and family’s request, VNA of Ohio’s homecare team can offer suggestions of ways to make the home environment safe and appropriate for the patients’ recuperation. Kristosik said families can prepare for their loved one’s return by ensuring the home’s living area is free of clutter, throw rugs and any other hazard that may increase a risk of falls.
“Many times after hospitalization, patients cannot perform the same tasks that they were able to prior to the hospital stay,” Kristosik said.
Preparing Your Home After a Hospital Stay
In some cases, the patient’s primary caregivers may need to reevaluate the arrangement of the home’s furniture. They should take into consideration the patient’s usual paths for moving around in the home and prepare the environment accordingly. Also, caregivers should consider the need for specialized medical equipment, such as an oxygen tank or hospital bed, and ensure there is space in the home.
Other patients may need adaptive devices at home to help keep them safe. The VNA of Ohio’s skilled homecare staff can evaluate the patient and recommend devices like toilet risers, shower chairs, hand rails and walkers.
Caregivers also should consider the patient’s medication plan. Usually, a return from the hospital means adjusting medication doses and schedules and adding new ones. “Medication accuracy is important,” Kristosik said. “Too often, patients don’t understand their medications when they get home, and this puts them at risk for an error.”
She said a vital role of VNA of Ohio home healthcare nurses is their ability to minimize medication errors by educating patients about their health conditions and the medications they will be taking. For example, the nurses may teach patients and their caregivers how to maintain dosing schedules and to come up with an effective sorting system to ensure the appropriate medication is taken at the right time.
VNA of Ohio nurses also teach patients how to monitor their symptoms and understand the side effects of their medications in order to spot issues before they become complications.
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Learn more about VNA of Ohio services, or call us today at 1-877-698-6264.