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During this time, you and your loved one will be leaving the hospital to return home. Here are some details about what your homelife may look like:

  • May go home or to another facility
  • Adapting to changes in lifestyle and routines
  • Preparing for continued therapy

The transition back home after a long stay in the hospital or a rehab facility can be filled with uncertainty. You may be concerned if your loved one’s home is ready or if it’s the best place for them to be right now. You may be wondering how you can help your loved one adapt to changes in daily life. You may be unsure how to juggle all your priorities.

Staying focused and patient during this time can help you step into your new role as caregiver and ensure your loved one’s return home is as smooth as possible.

Use the information in this section to help you understand what to expect when your loved one’s everyday care switches to you.


Visual things to pay attention to after returning home with your loved one

  1. Take note of potential obstacles that may interfere with daily activities like limited shower/bath space and rugs that could be trip hazards
  2. Watch out for signs of depression, if spasticity develops, and any bowel/bladder issues
  3. Keep an eye on your loved one’s condition, taking note of any signs of another stroke (face drooping, muscle weakness, slurred speech/confusion)
  4. Continue monitoring your loved one’s sleep habits and patterns: Do they take a lot of naps during the day? How is their nighttime sleep?

Details to make note of after returning home with your loved one

  1. Talk to your loved one about how their needs may have changed now that they are in a more familiar space
  2. Discuss the possibility of bringing in home health aides to help you care for your loved one, if appropriate
  3. Reach out to a support group for tips on prioritizing your own well-being
  4. Pay attention to ways you can help optimize your loved one’s sleep hygiene (habits that promote quality nighttime sleep and daytime alertness)


Conversations to have after returning home with your loved one

  1. Talk to your loved one’s primary care physician (PCP) about ongoing health management
  2. Request a schedule of anticipated follow-up appointments with your loved one’s PCP, neurologist, and physiatrist
  3. Reach out to the social worker/case manager if you’re not sure you’ll have adequate support for your role as caregiver back home

Tasks to complete after returning home with your loved one

  1. If you work, contact your employer(s) to let them know about your plans going forward
  2. Review long-term healthcare benefits and create a financial plan/budget
  3. Before discharge, obtain a prescription for home healthcare (if needed) to ensure Medicare coverage
  4. Put together your caregiver schedule, and plan respite time as needed

Talk to a doctor if you notice any of these symptoms in your loved one, which may mean the stroke is progressing:

  • Muscle tightness, cramping, and spasms, which may be signs of spasticity
  • Severe headaches, fatigue, chest pain, and difficulty breathing, which may be signs of high blood pressure
  • Heart palpitations, sudden pounding or “fluttering” in the chest, and dizziness, which may be signs of atrial fibrillation (or AFib)
  • Uncontrollable laughing or crying, which may be signs of Pseudobulbar Affect (PBA)

Returning home may be both relieving and nerve-wracking for you. Here are some ways to help ease the transition:

  1. STAY ACTIVE Try to get at least 30 minutes of daily exercise to help you de-stress and stay strong
  2. GET SOCIAL Make an effort to meet up with friends and family to interact and laugh
  3. FIND TIME FOR YOU Do things you enjoy to help you maintain your own identity
  4. ORDER AHEAD Consider meal planning/delivery services to free up time for other tasks
  5. TAKE A BREAK You work hard as a caregiver, so take time to pause, rest, and find information on respite care
Use this 5-point questionnaire to help you start the conversation about spasticity with your doctor
Spasticity Quiz
How much muscle stiffness/tightness do you experience during rest, movement, or sleep?
How difficult is it to straighten, bend, or flex your limbs due to muscle stiffness/tightness?
How bad are any muscle spasms/twitches you experience?
Are the muscle stiffness/tightness and/or spasms you experience associated with pain?
Over the past month, how bothersome has your muscle stiffness/tightness and/or spasms been?

You’ve completed the Spasticity Quiz!

Email or download your responses and take them with you to your next doctor’s appointment. Discuss your symptoms with your doctor and together, you can determine if you have spasticity and what your treatment options may be.

Email my completed quiz

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