Discharge Planning After Surgery
Once you meet the discharge criteria specified for your type of surgery, you will
be released to go home. Or you may be moved from the recovery room to a hospital room.
Hospitals usually require that you have a responsible friend or family member drive
you home. This is because the anesthesia may affect your coordination and reflexes
for up to 24 hours after the surgery. Your discharge plan should include instructions
on how to take care of your wound and dressings. It may also include information about
medicines. For example, what medicines you should take for pain and when to resume
your other medicines. The plan may tell you what exercises to do and provide other
home care instructions, such as whether you need to limit your activities.
Before you go home, you should be clear on what your limits are and whether you will
need special care, help, or equipment after your surgery. Also be sure to discuss
the following with your healthcare provider:
Do I have any special limits on what I can eat?
How soon before I can drive again and do other routine activities such as housework or lawn
Who will help me once I get home until I can go back to my normal activities?
How should I care for my incision? When can I shower and bathe again?
How long should I expect pain? What medicine should I take to control it?
Do I have stitches? And if so, when do they need to be taken out?
Is there any kind of follow-up treatment to this surgery?
When should I follow up with my provider?
In what cases should I contact my healthcare provider or nurse or seek medical care
Do I need special care or home care such as for my wound or IV medicines? Who can
help me set it up? Will my health insurance pay for it?
When can I go back to exercising, lifting, and doing other more vigorous activities?
How soon before I can return to work? Will I need to be on limited duty or can I return