Recover.

Hospitalisation

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Base Camp.

Preparation.

You are going to climb a very high mountain to recovery and hospital could well be your base camp. It will prepare you for the challenges ahead but will also be there if things get bad and you have to return to base!

If you have not had a long stay in hospital before, nothing can really prepare you for it and like mountain base camp you will need the right clothing, your own personal hygiene kit, some good books and a few emergency rations in case the kitchen food doesn't suit![1]

Relationships.

Your relationship with the support team, doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers will be of great importance and friends and family will, we hope, help in whatever way they can.[2]

Survival tips.

Get rest.

Although your instinct will be to leave as soon as possible, don't go until you are sure you are ready. Make the most of the opportunity for rest and getting your body back into reasonable shape.[3]

Make hygiene a high priority.

Clean your hands regularly using hand rubs or soap and water. Remember that most germs that cause diarrhoea are not destroyed by alcohol-based hand rubs, so wash with soap and water after using the bathroom. Shower and change clothes as often as possible and don't share personal items with other patients.

Ask questions.

Ask plenty of questions. What is this medication for? Why am I having that test? and so on. It will help to get things straight in your own mind as well as throw up the odd anomaly that the medical team may review.

Take care.

Dont be afraid of the blindingly obvious. "How do I take a shower?" would have seemed a stupid question a few weeks ago, but a shower room can be a dangerous place until you are comfortable dealing with the hazards.

Dont fall down! Falling over and hurting yourself could put you back weeks, plus no-one likes filling all the forms in!

Leaving hospital.

Things will run smoother if you also attend to the basics before leaving. [4]

Of course, take all your things home, thank the team and so on but don't be in too much of a hurry. In particular you need to ensure:-

  • ☑ All the key consultants have agreed that you are ready.
  • ☑ Your family is ready to bring you home and look after you.
  • ☑ You have left a forwarding address.
  • ☑ Your home does not have any hazards that the medical team should know about.
  • ☑ You have full documentation on medication, test results and so on.
  • ☑ You have the medication you need.
  • ☑ You know how to use any medical devices you are given to use at home.
  • ☑ You have a letter for your own doctor giving information about your treatment.

You may have difficulty in 6 months time accessing records of your stay. The medical team often changes many times during the course of your stay so in a sense the onus is on you to take ownership. Its tough because of the condition you find yourself in but its in your own interest.

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