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In order to prepare for your hospitalization and discharge home, the following are some things to keep in mind to make the process as smooth as possible:
Insurance does not cover transportation unless you cannot walk and your medical condition requires you to be transported lying down. We recommend you contact your insurance company to explore your coverage for transportation. There are medical vans available through community agencies, the cost usually ranges between $20 - $30 and payment is required at time of service. Taxis are available if you can be transported in a sitting position. The hospital does not have a transportation service available. If you have a concern about transportation please contact the Cedars-Sinai social worker as soon as possible. Ask your nurse to have her paged.
Planning for Family Visits
Once you are admitted to the spine surgical floor, one adult family member may stay over night with you assuming your doctor approves. Since the length of hospital stays varies, your family will need to be prepared financially for hotel costs. The Hospitality Center can provide referrals to local hotels and housing programs.
Childcare may also be necessary once you return home so you can get the rest you need for recovery.
Someone to Help after Discharge
Initially, it is recommended that you have someone stay with you most of the time, until you feel stronger. If you do not have someone who can assist you at home, an attendant can be hired through a community agency. The cost usually begins around $9.00 an hour. Normally insurance does not cover this cost. You may choose to stay for a brief time in a convalescent hospital until you are more fully recovered. Insurance may cover this; check your insurance benefits.
Now that your surgery is over, we want your recovery to go smoothly. The following information will help guide you through the recovery process and will answer many of your questions.
Discharge Process from the Hospital
Your doctor will assure that all your needs are met in time, so you can go home on your scheduled day. Let your nurse know at what time you will be ready to leave, so she/he can prepare your discharge papers early. Plan to be discharged between 10 am and noon.
You will be given final instructions about your medications, wound care, diet, activity and return office visit appointment before you are released. Make sure to ask questions if any of the instructions are not clear to you.
Make sure that all your belongings are packed. Check the room and closet for any items you may have left behind. Have your valuables retrieved from the vault, too.
The Cedars-Sinai social worker you met with on your initial assessment is available to you during your entire hospitalization. (S)he can help to arrange for transportation home, follow-up care and referrals to community resources. The social worker is an excellent source of emotional support to help cope with the stress of hospitalization.
To contact the social worker, call (310) 423-4446 or ask your nurse. After discharge you may call the Cedars-Sinai Spine Center (310) 423-9900 or the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center social worker at (310) 423-4446 with any questions or referral needs.
Postoperative Care and Follow-up
There are a variety of services that you may require at the time of discharge from the hospital. Your doctor's recommendation and your medical condition will determine the type of services. The hospital social worker can assist in making arrangements for these services. Possible services include:
Acute Rehabilitation Unit
After surgery, if you experience any weakness in your arms/legs your doctor may recommend intensive physical, occupational or speech therapy in an in-patient unit. Average length of stay on this type of unit is 2 weeks. The goal of the therapy would be to strengthen you and help you to regain independence.
This service provides physical therapy in an outpatient center. You would need to be driven to the center for therapy appointments. Most often these appointments are scheduled 2 to 3 times a week. This service is short-term and based on your needs and progress. It requires an order from your doctor. The Outpatient Rehabilitation at the Cedars-Sinai Spine Center can be reached at (310) 423-9200.
Skilled Nursing Facility
This facility provides care for anyone requiring 24-hour skilled nursing care or therapy services. Length of stay is usually short term until functioning is regained. An internist or the facility doctor directs the nursing care.
Your Insurance Benefits
If you are able, contact your insurance company prior to surgery to investigate your benefits. Not all insurance policies cover all services.
A Note about Recovery
Recovery from surgery is a gradual process. Your body has been through a lot and needs to heal in its own time. Many people experience fatigue after surgery, although this usually improves a little each day.