How to Avoid a Return Trip to the Hospital

If you are hospitalized, it’s important to know how to take care of yourself when you are ready to go home.
If you are hospitalized, it’s important to know how to take care of yourself when you are ready to go home.

The key to staying home after a hospitalization is proper planning. If you have the information you need and a plan for how to recover at home, you can prevent an unnecessary trip back. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed additional importance on doing what you can to avoid an unnecessary return to the hospital.

1. Plan in advance for going home

If you have any concerns about how you will manage at home, tell the hospital staff as early as possible. It’s important to raise any concerns you have before you leave. Make sure you have the names and phone numbers for any home care services you need, know what problems to watch for, and have the name of a contact person and number to call if you have any problems. You can also ask for written instructions for follow-up appointments, treatments, or tests that are needed.

2. Understand your medications when you leave

Before you leave the hospital, a list of your medications should be provided to you. If you don’t get one, ask. This list should include the reason for taking the medication, how much to take, when to take it, and how often. Make sure you know about new medications prescribed to you, including potential side effects, or if there are medications you no longer need to take.

3. See your doctor 5-7 days after leaving the hospital

It’s very important to see your doctor for a follow-up appointment 5-7 days after leaving the hospital so your doctor can make sure your recovery is going well. Bring your list of medications to your appointment and discuss them with your doctor. Make sure your doctor agrees with any new medications or changes made in your existing medications.

Ask your doctor if this appointment should be in person or if a virtual appointment using telehealth is recommended. Telehealth (or telemedicine as it is also known) makes it possible to have appointments over the internet, by phone, email, or other digital media. Many providers offer telehealth services, so ask your doctor if it’s appropriate for a follow-up appointment.

4. Consider working with our Care Management Team

The Tufts Health Plan Care Management Team can help you transition to your home after a hospital stay. There is no cost to plan members to work with the team. We can help secure care at home if you need it, make follow-up appointments with your doctor, and provide other helpful resources.

To learn more about working with a Care Manager, call Member Services at 1-800-701-9000 (HMO) or 1-866-623-0172 (TTY: 711) (PPO) (TTY: 711).

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