Returning Home: Where are the Instructions?

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The day before my Dad’s release, I spent time washing clothes and blankets.  I got everything ready for him.  When he called to say he was coming home, I prepared a bag of clothes so he could get changed.  I couldn’t get a straight answer from the hospital staff on what would be expected with my Dad’s treatment when he got home.  You can imagine my surprise when at 5pm that evening, a medical supply company called to say they would be dropping off my Dad’s oxygen equipment!  I was told by the doctor that he wouldn’t need it!

When my Dad came home, my sister’s and I reviewed what she’d been told at the hospital and then the information he was sent home with.  It was definitely lacking!  While it told him how to take the two medications he was sent home with and for some reason gave a lengthy description of what to do if he fell, their were no instructions about the medications he was taking prior to being hospitalized.  In fact, the list that was sent home with him, was the list I had written!

I looked over the packet several times.  Not only did the doctor leave no directions about his medication, nowhere in the packet did it say anything about oxygen.

At 8pm a representative from the medical supply company dropped off the equipment.  We sat through the demonstration knowing we were both too darned tired to remember most of it.  After he left, I sat looking at all Concentrator, Compressor, Travel Tanks, and Emergency Tanks, and wondering how much our lives would change from this point on.  Plus the oxygen freaked me out to no end.  Not only did I worry about something catching on fire, but I had to worry about my three legged dog tripping over the hose as my Dad dragged it around the house.

It took us almost a week to get everything straightened out.  I’m glad my Dad did well during that time.  I had to wait three days just for a phone call from the hospital doctor.  Since I wasn’t getting what I wanted from the hospital, I put in calls to all my Dad’s doctors.  It didn’t make me feel very good to find out that none of them

I was really disappointed that there were not more explicit.  It didn’t really give me a good feeling that all the issues concerning my Dad’s care were taken care of.  I was tired, angry, anxious, and annoyed.  I really did not feel like we were prepared by anyone to handle the next stage of his treatment.  It lead us to a few anxiety producing days that we later learned could have been avoided.

Although they had a meeting with someone from the hospital, it was really unclear what my Dad was supposed to do about his care when he got home.

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