At Discharge

You usually receive a lot of instructions just prior to leaving. The nurse will give you the highlights in writing, including a list of the medications you will need to take. It is hard to remember everything. As always, ask questions if you do not understand the instructions.

  • Have a family member present to help recall what was said.
  • Take notes and, specifically, find out:
    • When to see the doctor again
    • Dates and times if home nurses or therapists are coming to you
    • When to change your bandages
    • When bathing is permitted
    • When it is okay to be alone in the house
    • When you can drive
    • Instructions about elevation of an operated extremity, and weight bearing on a leg after surgery
  • Understand about all medicines you need. Someone will have to get prescriptions filled for you.
  • Make sure you understand any signs of complications, such as infections or blood clots. Know how to quickly contact your doctor or healthcare team should you notice signs of complication
  • Even at home, getting up to go the bathroom at night can be dangerous. Sleeping pills and pain medications can cause unexpected balance problems. Blood loss from surgery can make you feel dizzy when you first stand up.
    • Stand still at the bedside for a moment before walking
    • Use eye glasses and turn on a light
    • Be sure slippery scatter rugs have been removed
    • Be aware that emptying your bladder can drop blood pressure and cause fainting. Men are much safer sitting down.

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