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Discharge and Home Care

When it is time for you to leave the hospital, your physician and/or nurse will review your discharge instructions with you and give you a written copy before you leave the hospital. We recommend that you have a friend or family member available to listen to the discharge instructions as well.

You will need to make arrangements for a friend or family member to pick you up from the hospital. It is the practice of Oklahoma Surgical Hospital to only release patients to friends or family members providing transportation from the hospital. We will not release a patient being discharged from the hospital via a taxi service.

Important Things to Remember at Discharge:

• Your Belongings. Do not forget to retrieve any cash or valuables you may have left in the safe as well as any personal medications you may have brought to the hospital.
• Your Prescriptions. Your doctor may have given you prescriptions for you to get filled at your own pharmacy.
• Your Discharge Instructions. This is the paperwork that contains the specific information regarding your care once you leave the hospital. Please read it carefully and ask your nurse if you have any questions. You will also receive a patient medication sheet describing the most common side effects to the medications you were given.

If your physician prescribed Physical Therapy at OSH following your discharge, please call (918) 477-5041 to schedule your appointment.

After Discharge

Once you are home from the hospital, follow the instructions given to you at discharge.

If not instructed otherwise, drink plenty of fluids such as water and fruit juices. This can help replace fluids lost during surgery. Don’t drink alcohol, especially if you are taking pain medications.

According to your discharge instructions, eat foods that can help your body heal and prevent certain problems. These foods may include:

• Protein – meat (choose lean cuts), seafood, eggs, beans, and nuts.
• Vitamin A – dark green, leafy vegetables, orange or yellow vegetables and fortified dairy products
• Vitamin C – citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes and spinach
• Fiber – whole grains, fruits and vegetables (Fiber can help prevent constipation.)

You may also be advised to avoid fatty or very spicy foods (they can add to nausea, gas or other stomach troubles). Or you may be advised to eat several small meals throughout the day rather than a couple of large ones. You are less likely to feel full or bloated.

Changing the dressing on your incision.

A friend or family member may need to assist you with applying the dressing to your incision site. The most important aspect of your dressing is that it be water-resistant but allow air to the wound. You can buy supplies at any drugstore to assist you. Here is what you may need:  1) gauze pads, 2) transparent waterproof dressing, 3) tape, 4) scissors. Do not change the dressing at home unless it is saturated with drainage or falling off. Leave the dressing on until your doctor tells you it is okay to expose the incision to air.

To change the dressing, please follow these steps:

1.  Wash hands by scrubbing all surfaces with warm soapy water for 20 seconds.
2.  Rinse hands well and dry with a clean towel.
3.  Remove old dressing – carefully checking the incision site for signs of infection.  If redness, swelling or hardness, warmth, odor, or pus is observed, contact the surgeon’s office.  Avoid touching the wound with bare hands.
4.  Wash hands again prior to applying a clean dressing as instructed by the nurse or surgeon’s office.
5.  Thoroughly clean hands and all surfaces again when dressing change is completed.

If a family member or friend is not available to help with changing the dressing, please tell your OSH nurse who can refer you to social services in your area. (This may include ride services, hot meal programs and volunteer visitor programs. Additional information may be obtained from your area agency on aging or local civic/religious organizations.)

Do not soak in water, such as a bathtub, hot tub, pool or sauna because this can cause infection and prevent healing. Showers are fine with the water resistant dressing.

If you have questions once you get home, please call your physician. You may also contact the Inpatient Nursing Station at (918) 477-5095 or (918) 477-5085 to speak to a nurse.

Our case managers work closely with you and your family to ensure all your needs are met when you return home. If you have questions about services and support available to you after you leave the hospital, please contact our Case Management Department at (918) 477-5037.


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Oklahoma Surgical Hospital