A century ago, most people went to the hospital for infectious diseases, like tuberculosis. You'd be treated, released, and done.
Today, chronic ailments like heart disease, diabetes, and COPD are big threats.
So hospital visits are more about fine-tuning treatment.
"Not only are people older, but they're also living with more diseases," said Dr. Heidi Syropoulos of Independence Blue Cross.
Dr. Syropoulos of Independence Blue Cross says good health now requires a balancing act, to manage what is called "transitions of care."
"When a patient is admitted to the hospital and then goes home - that's a transition to home," said Dr. Syropoulos.
Post-hospital care often becomes more complex, with new routines, in-home therapy, or medication changes.
So a comprehensive discharge plan drawn up by the hospital's doctors, nurses, and even social workers, is a must.
It lays out all the basics.
"This is why you came in. This is what we did. This is going to happen when you go home," said
The discharge plan shouldn't just be explained to you, the patient - but to family members, and anyone who'll be involved in your care.
That may even include your pharmacist.
"We're changing the dose, we're changing the name," added
Your primary care doctor also needs to be in the loop.
Many get an automatic notice through the Healthcare Exchange, but check with the office or clinic, to be sure.
"Last but not least is that you get seen by your primary care physician within 7 days," said
Your health insurer can also provide support carrying out that discharge plan. They may have counselors or nurses.
With a good game plan, there can be healthier days ahead.
Age Fearless is a sponsored partnership of Independence Blue Cross and 6abc.
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Age Fearless: Transitions of care