“We’ll get home, see how things go, and then figure out if we need any help.” This is the philosophy that causes a large percentage of post-hospitalization and post-rehab falls and readmissions. In fact, it is the polar opposite of what should be happening. What may seem like an abundance of caution when someone returns home from the hospital or rehab is exactly that, but it is that abundance that creates stronger and healthier bodies, minds, and attitudes.
We get it. No one wants to believe that they will go home and feel weak or unsteady, or won’t be able to cook or bathe. In reality, the strong body it might have taken you months or even years to develop can become weaker in a matter of days. So rebuilding stamina, balance, and confidence is essential to long-term health and well-being.
I cannot count the number of times I have had a conversation with a family during which they tell me they will see how it goes and then call us. While I know it sounds self-serving on my part to tell them they might want to begin with help and then back off of it as things progress, my advice comes from experience. In my case, the experience is with both clients and my own family.
My siblings and I insisted on a round-the-clock presence for my mom for months after she returned home from rehab for hip replacement. We slowly reduced the time someone was with her, but well over a year later, we still combine caregivers and family to help her several mornings a week and several overnights. We all believe that this, along with her own determination, is what resulted in a remarkable recovery.
I can boss around my own family. They may not like it, but I still do it. I can’t boss our clients or their families. We can only offer them the advice proven to be effective. If you are wondering if you need help, then you need help. If you are headed home from the hospital or rehab, you need to have assistance at home for at least 30 days. Hospitals and doctors are becoming more and more strict about reducing readmissions. They will not be happy to see you coming back through the emergency room doors.
This “advice” sounds pretty blunt and perhaps even arrogant. How in the world would I know your family’s situation or what is best for your parents or your spouse? We live these scenarios day in and day out, and we learn from each one. We want to share our experience with you. We want everyone who goes home from an injury or illness to stay at home and not be re-hospitalized. We want to watch the help you need go from round-the-clock to eight hours a day. Because that means you’ve gotten stronger, healthier, more confident, and smarter about your own safety.
If there’s anything we wish for you and your family, it is good health and a safe environment. Even if we do sound bossy while we send the wish.