Follow-Up Care After You're Hospitalized
Your mental health care doesn’t end once you leave the hospital. To continue your recovery, you should engage in follow-up care within a week of your discharge.
Importance of Follow-Up Care
Participating in follow-up care supports your transition back home. It may also reduce the chance of you being readmitted to the hospital. Follow-up care helps you maintain the progress made during hospitalization.
Research shows that patients who fail to attend follow-up care often have poorer health outcomes. Patients who do not seek care after discharge are more likely to end up in the hospital again in the same year.
Compliance is key in managing the symptoms of any illness. Not following your doctor’s treatment plan can reduce the effectiveness of your previous treatment. Readmissions can also become costly and stressful for you and your family and friends.
Examples of Follow-Up Care
Your doctor may give you a prescription at the time of your discharge. It is very important that you fill and take the medication as directed. You should also attend the appointment scheduled for you at discharge. This way your doctor can make any needed adjustments to your medicine.
Part of your follow-up care may include an appointment with a counselor. Keeping these regular appointments can continue the healing process and help you learn new ways to cope.
Maximize your Follow-Up Care
- Schedule a follow-up: Get an appointment on the calendar with your doctor before you leave the hospital. Call your primary care physician, behavioral health care specialist or local mental health center to get an appointment as soon as possible. Or, our care coordinators can help you find someone in your area.
- Get medication details: Know what medications you should take after you leave the hospital. Note any differences between the new medications and the ones you took prior to your admission.
- Ask for discharge instructions: Make sure you receive and understand written discharge instructions. Ask for detailed, written instructions. If you are unsure about something, ask questions.
- Keep a list of questions: Before your appointment, write down any questions you may have. Keep a list of any symptoms you are having, any treatments and what medications you are currently taking. You can print and use our helpful Your Next Appointment worksheet to record this information. This tool can guide you as you attend your continued follow-up care.
- Take notes: Once at your appointment, write down any special instructions the doctor or specialist gives. You may find it helpful to bring a family member or friend to take notes, listen to instructions and offer support.
- Schedule a follow-up: Before leaving the doctor’s office, schedule your next appointment. Scheduling your next appointment is very important in maintaining your care.
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