How to Transition from the ICU to In-Home Care

The ICU, or the Intensive Care Unit, is a specialized department in the hospital which provides intensive-care medicine to patients who have undergone recent procedures or surgeries for a variety of reasons. These designated intensive care areas are for various medicine specialties and include a range of units such as the neonatal intensive care unit, psychiatric intensive care unit, cardiac surgery intensive care unit, medical surgical intensive care unit, surgical intensive care unit, coronary care unit, and cardiovascular intensive care unit. If you recently were in any of these intensive care units and are being released to receive in-home care, there are a variety of things to consider making this transition easy and comfortable for you.

Before you even leave the hospital, you will first go through an assessment to wager your physical, psychological and emotional stability as going home from being in the ICU can be a tough transition in the beginning. Your healthcare team will provide you with everything you need before you leave the ICU which include detailed care instructions, physical therapy, and medications, and go over any questions you might have. Your rehabilitation goals will also be discussed if it pertains to your particular case.  Before going home, you will need to organize in-home care by contacting your insurance company to see if this service is available and getting a nurse who is trained and skilled in the type of home care and rehabilitation from home that you will need. This nurse will be highly trained and offer the same quality of care that your ICU nurses did.

The toughest part of the transition between the ICU and in-home care is that you will not have the same support as you did in the hospital. You may feel depressed or frustrated in the beginning as you may not feel like you are recovering as quickly as before, and many people feel safer being in the hospital environment. Start by setting small goals for yourself at home whether this is to stand up, take a few steps or simply to sit up on your own without assistance from your nurse or physical therapist. With each small goal you make for yourself and achieve, the less depressed you will become in your new home environment. Don’t push yourself too far and forgot about your recovery; get plenty of rest and follow the nurse’s instructions if you are trying to do too much, too quickly.

If you have just recovered from an injury or critical illness, it may take some time finding your groove again and getting back to your daily routine. However with vigilance, patience and persistence, you will be able to do this gradually. Your recovery time and how long it takes to get a new daily routine depends entirely on the type of procedure or illness you are recovering from. Having positive thinking and being optimistic about your recovery can make a big difference in how well and how quickly you feel like yourself again.
photo credit: YODCOX! via photo pin cc

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