How to help someone who has recently been discharged from hospital

Recovering from a stay in hospital can feel a whole lot more manageable when you’ve got a good support network around you. Here are a few ways you can support someone who has recently been discharged from hospital.

Try to be flexible with your schedule

Whether you’re living with the person who is recovering, or you’re a little further away, having some flexibility can make a big difference. For more immediate friends and family, this might mean trying to leave work early to help your loved one to their medical appointments, or taking carers leave to help out. 

For other people, simply understanding when a friend can and can’t catch up can relieve a lot of unnecessary stress while still helping them to feel connected. Sometimes just making some time to listen to their worries and talk through how they’re feeling is what’s needed, even if it isn’t face to face.

Offer to help out at home

Once again, this can apply to anyone. If you live with the person who is recovering, it may help to just pick up some of their jobs to encourage them to rest. Be sure to keep the lines of communication open, not only so you know what they need help with, but also so they can let you know when they’re ready to start regaining more of their independence.

If you don’t live with the person but you still want to help out, offering cooked meals that just need to be heated can make a world of difference. See if they need help putting a load of washing on or hanging the washing out to dry, or even just stack the dishwasher for them before you leave.
Daughter helping father recover

Encourage them to take their medication and do their exercises

Some people will follow their doctor’s instructions, whereas others may resist or feel like it’s all too hard. Gentle reminders and encouragement can help them get over this hurdle and keep their recovery on the right track. Encourage them to talk to their doctor about why they have recommended certain things so that they can feel empowered in their recovery.

Listen

Keeping an eye on the physical signs of someone recovering may be quite obvious, but something which can be harder to monitor is their mental health. Surgery can be a life changing event and it is not uncommon to experience feelings of fatigue, worry, fear and frustration to name a few, it can be overwhelming at times. Being there to actively listen and enabling them to voice their thoughts and feelings can provide a massive relief, and may even help you better understand how you can help.
 
You may also find our article helpful, “Beware the post op blues”.

Take care of yourself too

Finally, let’s be frank. Caring for another person can be tiring, rewarding, frustrating and seemingly never-ending all at once. Make sure you take time out for yourself and acknowledge your own feelings. Taking time for yourself is important for your own health. It’s important that you stay well both physically and mentally so that you can continue to help take care of your loved one. 
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