Once you meet the discharge criteria specified for your type of surgery, you will be released to go home or be transferred to a hospital room. Hospitals usually require that the patient is transported home by a friend or family member, as coordination and reflexes may be impaired for 24 hours following anesthesia. Your discharge plan may include instructions on how to take care of the wound dressings, what medications to take, what exercises to do, and other home care instructions.
Before you go home, you should be very clear on what your limitations are and whether or not you will need special care, assistance, or equipment following your surgery. Also, be sure to discuss the following items with your physician:
- Are there any special dietary restrictions that should be followed?
- How soon before you can resume driving and other routine activities (i.e., housework, lawn care, etc.)?
- Who will help you once you get home until normal activities can be resumed?
- What are special instructions regarding incisional care?
- How long should you expect pain?
- Is there any kind of follow-up therapy to this surgery?
- How many weeks after surgery should you follow up with your physician?
- In what instances should you contact your physician or nurse?
- When can you resume exercise and other more rigorous activities?
- How soon before you can return to work?