San Francisco, CA

Life after physical therapy


It’s the word we use in healthcare to say that a person no longer requires the skilled intervention of a licensed clinician.  But what does that mean for you if you are that person being discharged?  To start, being discharged is not prognosis-dependent, it is environment-dependent.  You are no longer “requiring” service from that environment of care (e.g. you are stable enough to survive going home from the hospital or, in a different scenario, you have some exercises and stretches to help with your shoulder or back pain.)

What about getting back to a thriving life?  Are you a “revolving door” patient who often needs to go back for more help for the same issue?  Why is that the case?

Children may enjoy running around a revolving door but, as an adult, you know you aren’t going anywhere when you choose to enter right after you exit.

Let’s say that there’s a storm outside but it’s warm and dry inside.  You only have your hospital gown.  It would make sense to go back inside, through that revolving door especially because you weren’t prepared to handle inclement weather.  If, on the other hand, you knew weather would be a challenge by the time you were leaving, you brought a rain jacket, an umbrella, you knew how to get back to your car avoiding puddles, not slipping on the wet grating, walking under the awnings whenever possible?

This is the situation most people face when they are discharged.  It’s suddenly up to you to navigate difficult and uncomfortable situations without somebody else’s help.  Some are well-prepared while others are sent out feeling ok but quickly succumb to the challenges outside, forcing a return to care but often in the same or worse shape.

Were you given ALL the tools you need to successfully navigate a healthy lifestyle when you were summarily discharged?

Here are things you can do to ensure your success once discharged from care:

PRIOR to discharge:

  • Think of what is a challenge, what could be a challenge once you discharged.  Write down your questions, bring them to your SECOND TO LAST appointment.  Get answers.  See if those answers really do cover what you need to know and prepare you to do things on your own.  If not, ask more questions, get more answers.
  • Ask your provider if you can contact them with any later questions or if there is basically a safety net for you to keep improving without needing to come back in for another episode of care.

AFTER discharge:

  • Schedule in your daily routine.  Make sure it includes the things you have already been doing while being cared for that helped improve your situation.
  • Practice practice practice!  Are you handling challenges well?  Are they becoming less challenging or slowly getting harder?  Is your practice sufficient to build your health or is the routine not quite addressing all your needs?
  • Seek help for the things you continue to struggle with and do not know how to address on your own.
  • Know what options there are for you.  You could go back to the same provider for repeat care (if you expect different results) or you could explore other services.

If you are struggling with a physical health condition and don’t quite have the roadmap to better health, we want to help you.

No more revolving doors.
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