Transitioning Home After a Rehab Stay

Dear Janet:

Our dad is just finishing up a stay in a rehab center and will be discharged home soon. It’s been a long road for him since he had his stroke, and we want to make sure we do everything we can to help him make a smooth transition back to his house.

Do you have any advice or tips you can share with us?

Kind Regards,

Staci

Making a Smooth Transition Home after a Rehab Stay

Dear Staci:

Great question! And you are smart to plan ahead for your father’s discharge and transition home.

Here are a few tips you might find helpful:

  • Have Medical Supplies and Equipment in Place: Work with the social worker at the rehab center to determine what type of medical equipment your Dad might need to have at home. Whether it is a cane or walker, a raised toilet seat or grab bars near the shower, it’s best to have it all ordered and set up before you get home with your father.

  • Schedule Follow-up Appointments: Keeping your father’s recovery on track also means maintaining contact with his physicians. Make sure you know which physicians he needs to follow-up with and schedule those appointments before he leaves the rehab center.

  • Outpatient Therapy Plans: It isn’t uncommon for an older adult who has had a stroke to need to continue their therapy program at an outpatient rehab center. Make sure you check to see which centers are in his insurance plan and to schedule appointments before he leaves rehab. This will help prevent any disruption in his therapy regime.

  • Exercise Programs: Staying active is also important for people who are recovering from a stroke. Talk with your father to see what types of exercise interest him. It might be a walking program or swimming at the local fitness center. Once you have some ideas from your Dad, consult with his physician to get their approval.

  • Medication Management: Another step you can take to help your father’s transition go well is to have a plan in place for managing his medications. Be sure you have a list of medications, times and dosages from the rehab center, and that you have an order from his physician for each one he will need to continue. You might want to consider setting up a pill box of some kind for him. Newer technologies are available that make this much easier to do. Some pill containers even send an alert or flash when it is time for a medication dosage.

Our final tip is to watch for signs of depression in your father. Those might include a loss of appetite, withdrawing from family or neglecting his personal appearance.

It isn’t uncommon for seniors to battle depression after a serious illness like your father has experienced. Joining a stroke recovery support group might be one way you can help prevent your father from becoming depressed after his return home.

I hope this information is helpful, Staci! Best of luck to you and your father as you work together to tackle this next phase of his recovery.

Kind Regards,

Janet McNaughton, MA, RN, SCRN