Whether we like it or not, at some point in our lives we will make a trip to the hospital. In most cases, it may only take one hospital stay to recover, but sometimes our health care needs require additional assistance beyond the hospital. In these times of transition, it’s helpful to understand the process of transitional care and know of ways to prepare for the experience.
Dr. Gordon Glasgow, medical director for Palm Terrace Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, offered five tips that can help patients begin their journey back to health armed with knowledge and a better understanding of the transitional care process.
1. Be current on your vaccinations.
Hundreds of patients are being treated for a variety of reasons on any given day, and that volume of activity can challenge the most sterile of conditions. Before your scheduled visit, be sure you are current on vaccinations, particularly Influenza, Tdap and Td vaccines.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Every adult should get the Tdap vaccine once if they did not receive it as an adolescent to protect against pertussis (whooping cough), and then a Td (tetanus, diphtheria) booster shot every 10 years.”
2. If you are having a medical procedure, ask your doctor if a post-acute care facility will be needed.
“Be sure to talk to your primary care physician and know what to expect,” said Glasgow. It’s important for the patient and family members to understand the role they in the decision-making process. Glasgow added, “I think the nice part of it is that you have options you need to discuss with your doctor, with the hospitalists, and with the nursing facility for after discharge.”
3. If you will be transferred to another facility, take a tour beforehand.
“We always welcome tours of our rehabilitation facility,” said Matt Hefner, CEO, and director of Palm Terrace Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center. Hefner added that if you schedule an appointment, he can be sure members of the medical team are present to answer any questions or concerns you may have about the upcoming procedure and the follow-up care.
4. Find the ideal rehab facility.
If you have a post-surgical or rehabilitation need, make sure to interview the physical therapist to inquire about his or her experience with your medical need. Communication is an important part of the recovery process. If you have a medical reason for transitional care, such as an IV drip, make sure to interview the nursing staff.
The journey to recovery often requires transitional care. By being prepared with current vaccines, understanding the steps required in the medical procedure, being familiar with the rehab facility, and selecting a location that is the best fit for you, the pathway to good health will be cleared of potential bumps in the road.