After surgery, illness, or an accident, it's not uncommon for patients to no longer need hospital care, but to also not be ready to return home. This is where rehabilitation services come in. The purpose of a rehabilitation facility is to help the patient focus on recovery until they're ready to safely resume living at home. Most rehab patients are anxious to return home as soon as possible, but transitioning from a rehabilitation facility to home can be more difficult than you might think. Take a look at some tips that can help caregivers help their loved ones make the transition.

Have a Care Plan

Just because a patient is ready to return home doesn't mean that they don't need ongoing care. Your loved one may still need medications, therapies, and regular check-ups to monitor their progress. In some cases, that may mean coordinating with multiple doctors and therapists. In a rehabilitation facility, all of this information is consolidated into a care plan and overseen by a care coordinator.

You will need something similar when your loved one returns home. Someone – either you, another family member, or a health care provider you trust will need to take on the role of care coordinator. You will need an organized care plan that lays out in detail the prescriptions your loved one needs, their medical care providers and appointments, and their therapy plan and schedule. It's too easy to forget an appointment or mix up medications if you don't have an organized plan to follow.

Prepare the Home

You'll need to start preparing the home early. While your loved one may be ready to come home, that doesn't mean that they'll immediately be able to do everything the way they could before. Your loved one may have ongoing physical limitations that require home modifications.

For example, your loved one may need to use a wheelchair or scooter, which could require installing a wheelchair ramp at home. A ramp can also be useful for a patient who has to rely on a cane or walker. Stairs can pose a problem inside the home – your loved one's bedroom may need to be relocated to a downstairs room, or you may need to install a stair lift.

Ask For Help

Caregiving is a difficult job, and you may not be able to do it all by yourself. However, there are numerous community resources and services that you can turn to for help. Is your loved one going to need help preparing meals? Look for a Meals on Wheels program in your community. Will they need transportation to medical appointments? Check with your local Council on Aging to find out about transportation assistance in your area.

Your loved one's insurance or Medicare or Medicaid coverage may provide coverage for at least some home health care services. If you're going to be doing the bulk of home care yourself, you should also see if the insurance covers respite services so that you can take a break when you need to.

The staff at the rehab facility can be an excellent source when it comes to locating resources that will help your loved one continue their recovery at home. They're used to helping families make this transition and will be happy to answer any questions you have. Make sure to ask for their help when it comes to planning your loved one's transition home.