Often, after a surgery or a serious illness, the recovering patient may be ready to be discharged from a hospital, but may need medical monitoring before going home. Transition care acts as a stepping stone and offers a short-term rehabilitation stay that helps transition the person and their family into the change slowly and with ease.
The importance of transitional care cannot be stressed. If a patient goes straight home after a surgery or illness, family caregivers may be too busy or too ignorant to provide the kind of round the clock care a recovering patient needs.
Common problems that rise due to poor after care
- Patient may develop an infection
- They may have a relapse
- Recovery time may take longer
- Travelling to and from hospitals for consultations and physiotherapy is difficult
- Rehabilitation and getting back into a quality lifestyle takes much longer.
Transitional care is the answer to these problems
In a transitional care setting:-
- A patient will be monitored closely by nursing staff
- Their medication will be managed
- Their treatment will be followed rigorously
- Health changes will be noted and updated to doctors
- If treatment or medication has to be changed it will be done as soon as necessary
- Physiotherapists will help the patient get ambulant
- Strength and fitness training is given
- Other consultants may be used to help in cases that may involve cognition therapy, vision therapy and speech therapy etc.
Apart from medical and physical help, transitional care also addresses the emotional well being of the patient. Very often, after a serious health problem, a patient can get depressed and feel lonely. They may be in constant pain and may have physical problems, or problems with mobility. They could manifest anxiety and trauma due to the illness, and phobias related to hygiene.
Getting counseling will help them cope with the pain, anxiety and any lifestyle changes that they may have to make to reduce further risk. It also helps the patient and the caregivers at home understand the illness and the changes that have to be made.
A well run transition care facility will help reduce undesirable outcomes like relapses, re-hospitalization, errors in medicine and this may actually reduce medical costs as it helps the patient recover faster and get back to a healthy life sooner.