One of the events prior to being discharged from the hospital is a final visit from the doctor.  He or she will usually look at your hospital chart which includes notes by all professional staff who have been responsible for your care.  The doctor may also ask a physical therapist, occupational therapist, nutritionist and/or a social worker to evaluate you.  Often the physical therapist and occupational therapist will evaluate you jointly.

Wikipedia identifies physical therapy as including “prescription of or assistance with specific exercises, manual therapy and manipulation, mechanical devices such as traction, education, physical agents which include heat, cold, electricity, sound waves, radiation… and other interventions”.  Wikipedia goes on to state that physical therapists work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility by developing fitness and wellness-oriented programs.[i]  Wikipedia describes occupational therapy as helping a client to “achieve a fulfilled and satisfied state in life through the use of ‘purposeful activity or intervention designed to achieve functional outcomes which promote health, prevent injury …to sustain the highest possible level of independence”[ii]  Professionals in these two fields can work together to provide activities which can improve your overall health in a way that is enjoyable and will encourage you to participate in the activities.

According to Wikipedia, a nutritionist is “a person who advises on matters of food and nutritional impacts on health.[iii]  The nutritionist will usually consult with a patient to determine if his or her nutritional needs are met, especially if certain health problems exist such as diabetes or obesity.  Medical social workers assess the psychological functioning, environmental and support needs of patients and families.  They connect them to resources and supports in the community, counseling, or help a patient to expand and strengthen his or her network of social supports.  They typically work with other professionals to provide complementary care for the patient and family.[iv]

The doctor’s discharge recommendations are based upon all factors relevant to your health and caregiving needs.  Often the doctor will recommend that you spend time in a “rehab” unit to undergo further treatment.   The rehab unit may be a separate section of the hospital or a skilled nursing facility.  The time spent there may include a combination of factors including the recommendations of your hospital team and your response to treatment.  You may be responsible for any charges your insurance does not cover. While there, you will experience many of the same requirements as your stay in the hospital.  You will normally have only a private room or share a room with another patient.  Bathroom facilities will be shared.  Menus will be preplanned by the dietician on duty and you will not be able to leave the premises without permission.

An alternative to a rehab unit is home health care.  As soon as the possibility of discharge is discussed, you should notify your doctor that you wish to be discharged to home health care by an agency that is licensed to give that type of care.  Home Assist Senior Care is such an agency.  We can provide the care you need including a nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist and other services.  Our personal care aides and home health aides can prepare meals, do your laundry and help you bathe.  Moreover, you will be able to enjoy the comfort of your own home, family and friends.  Once you are discharged to home health care, you will also be returned to the primary care of your own doctor.

If you have any questions, please call us at (716) 648-2273.  We will be happy to help you.