Most people who have experienced a serious injury or illness would know that patient care does not end when they get discharged from the hospital. Rather, it is the beginning of a new cycle of treatment and rehabilitation that must be managed properly and meticulously to ensure the patient’s smooth recovery.
This treatment phase is referred to as post-acute care, which involves a variety of medical services and treatments aimed at helping the patient return to his normal condition prior to the incident. Depending on the severity of the ailment, post-acute care may include medical or palliative care such as physical therapy, continued medication, and doctor consultations.
These services may be done at home or in a specialized setting like a long-term care hospital or a nursing facility following the advice of the attending physician. When handled properly, post-acute care can prevent avoidable hospital readmission, thus proving to be more cost-effective in the long term.
For someone who is about or, or is currently undergoing post-acute care, there are certain factors that should be considered in order to ensure a smooth recovery process. Here are some of them :
1. Quality healthcare
According to the World Health Organization, or the WHO, quality healthcare is one of the major factors that can aid in patient recovery. They define quality healthcare as effective, efficient, evidence-based, safe, patient-centered, timely, and inclusive.
Patients respond better when the treatment plan is tailored to his specific needs, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. People have different levels of tolerance, and pushing a patient beyond the level of his personal tolerance would only be detrimental to his health.
Medical professionals also need to pay close attention to the treatment progress and be able to make adjustments as necessary. They should spend enough time with the patient and properly explain the process, manage expectations, and discuss any risks that they may be facing.
2. Patient Experience
The post-acute care experience of the patient also a key factor that can affect the recovery process. This does not simply refer to the medical technology being used, or the standards of the materials used in the hospital or facility. Rather, It is the combination of these plus the type of interactions that the patient goes through while undergoing treatment.
What this means is that the attitude of the medical staff, the atmosphere in the clinic, the manner of communication, and the level of relationships formed with the patient should all be considered when looking for a health care services agency. Choose one that adheres to professional quality standards as well as commits to treating patients based on their individual needs and preferences.
Patients who have just come from an illness or injury would have different reactions, thoughts, and feelings about what happened. Well experienced medical professionals know this and should be able to adapt their behavior and treatment plan accordingly.
3. Patient Psychology
The mind has a big influence on a person’s physical and physiological condition. Thus, a patient’s mental state should also be monitored and managed along with the medical treatment. A strong and positive mindset can go a long way in speeding up the recovery. On the other hand, negative thoughts like denial, despair, or fear can make the whole treatment fail to work.
Doctors and carers of patients in post-acute treatments should therefore pay attention to their words and behavior. Patients should be encouraged to take part in activities that will stimulate their brains and steer them away from destructive thoughts. Consider involving them in mild physical exercises, make sure they get enough sleep, and expose them to the outdoors when possible.
4. Support From The Community
Patients in post-acute care often feel isolated, especially if their treatment requires long-term stay in a medical facility. It takes him away from familiar surroundings as well as from people he loves. This sense of isolation, if left unchecked, could spiral and lead to negative thoughts and behavior that would adversely affect his recovery.
Social interactions and active communication from people in his circle would help alleviate this feeling and make him feel that he is still part of the community. This would give him the emotional support he needs and give him the motivation to recover, enabling him to return and actively participate in this group again.
In a study about behavioral medicine involving patients with heart ailments, researchers from Duke University discovered that the mortality rate of people with spouses or loved ones were only at 18% in a span of five years, while people who felt they were alone had a mortality rate of 50% for the same period. This proves how much impact social support has in a patient’s survival and recovery rate.
Aside from this, social interactions also help reduce stress while influencing the levels of hormone in the body that can aid in the healing process. It can make the body lower the stress hormone cortisol, helping the patient relax and feel more comfortable, while also releasing oxytocin which helps stimulate recovery.