From hospital to home- Tips for patients to help them have a safe transition

Written by Sarah Oprinovich. Posted in Featured, Health & Wellness

Published on August 03, 2016 with No Comments

Protect your health and well being Fagen Pharmacy at 3400 N. Calumet Ave, in Valparaiso is offering free blood pressure and blood glucose screenings every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Cholesterol and A1c will also be available for $20 each. Visit www.fagenpharmacy.com for other Health Screenings and Programs for all your family needs.

Being in the hospital is hard, and most people can only think about how to get home sooner while they are “stuck” in that not-so-comfortable bed.  Unfortunately, we have a huge problem in this country where people leave the hospital and end up right back after a short stay at home.  Medications are very often the culprit that cause people to return to the hospital, but there also is many factors that lead to those medication problems.

Given all the circumstances that surround a stay in the hospital, it’s not hard to see how these errors can happen.  Some common reasons, medication problems happen and the confusion with the discharge medication list, confusion about what to do with medications from home, problems with insurance coverage causing delays in getting medication, and difficulty getting to the pharmacy to pick up any new medications.  These are just a few examples I have seen while working with transitional care nurses at local hospitals.

Medicare provides some tips for patients to help them have a safe transition from hospital to home.  To see the full document, go to www.medicare.gov, search for “Ask Medicare Transition”, and it’s the first link.  There are some other helpful articles available as well.  Here are a few highlights of the tips they provide.

The first is to make a plan.

Be as active as possible in planning your discharge starting as soon as you get there (if you’re able).  Make sure you know the goals of your treatments and what milestones you need to reach in order to be safe at home.  Also make sure you have a follow up plan for each doctor or specialist.  After a hospital stay, a patient should definitely see their doctor within 1-2 weeks.

Ask questions!

Especially ask about your medications.  Why are they being prescribed?  What did you take before that needs to be stopped?  What should you expect from new medications?  What side effects might you have?  Does your insurance cover the new medications?  Did someone schedule my doctor appointment for me, or do I need to call to schedule it?  Am I being given refills for these medications, or do I need to follow up with another doctor to continue the medication?  Along with the answers to your questions, get a list of key contacts.  Who do you call if you have side effects?  Who can you call if there is a problem at the pharmacy?

The last piece of advice I have is speak up!

If something doesn’t go as planned, tell someone.  If you can’t get to the pharmacy to pick up your medications, maybe they can deliver.  At Fagen Pharmacy, we have been working with patients to get them home safely for three years now.  We have experienced and alleviated lots of problems with patients getting home from the hospital, and we are able to help.  Your doctors, nurses AND pharmacists want to see you home and healthy, so use us!

For more information about Fagen Pharmacy, visit www.fagenpharmacy.com

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About Sarah Oprinovich

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Sarah Oprinovich, PharmD, BCACP serves as the Clinical Services Director with Fagen Pharmacy with a focus on bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, wellness programs, and specialty medications. She received her PharmD from Purdue University and completed a post-graduate residency in community pharmacy with University of Missouri at Kansas City. She received her board certification in Ambulatory Care Pharmacy in 2011. For more information about Fagen Pharmacy, visit www.fagenpharmacy.com

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