Transitioning home after a stay in a short term rehab facility can be a difficult. Recovery from a serious illness, injury, surgery or stroke can be a long process, and the thought of going back home before you feel confident about fully managing on your own can be intimidating. Here are some tips on how to make that transition a smoother and less stressful experience.
Make Sure Your Expectations Are Realistic
Expecting to walk right back into life as you knew it before your medical problems typically isn't realistic, and can lead to a lot of disappointment and frustration. Those feelings can slow your recovery and make your transition home harder than it should be. Make sure you're assessing changes – both temporary and permanent – that you can expect in your lifestyle and ability levels honestly to avoid becoming discouraged during those first days or weeks back home.
Plan and Prepare Early
A smooth transition takes planning, and the earlier you start the better. The goal of early planning is to have everything you need in place – before you are discharged from rehab – to make your transition as easy and organized as possible. Working with the staff at your short term rehab center can make planning easier and more accurate, so do reach out to them for help.
Find out whether your physical and occupational therapists feel that you'll need extra help around the house, special equipment or home modifications to make managing at home safer, easier and more comfortable. Many good rehab programs offer patients the opportunity to have therapists make a home visit to assess these needs, which can be very helpful to the planning process. Once you have recommendations from those therapists, follow through on them as soon as possible to ensure your home is ready and any necessary support and services are in place when you make your transition from rehab to home.
Establish Realistic Recovery Goals
As you leave short term rehab to finish your recovery at home, setting clear, realistic goals to work towards can help speed your progress and keep you motivated. It is wise to reach out to your rehab staff for help, especially physical and occupational therapists. They can help you gain a clear understanding of what you need to focus on in order to make your best recovery and help you make a list of the steps you need to take to accomplish that ultimate goal.
Other things you can do to make life easier and less stressful at home include taking advantage of local community resources, like home delivered meals and medical transportation services, for instance. Your short term rehab center's discharge planners or social workers can help you find out what is available in your community. Lastly, don't be afraid to reach out to family and friends for help. Being embarrassed to ask for the help you need can lead to recovery setbacks, slowing your progress towards regaining your health and independence.