Welcome Home: A Guide for Handling the Transition from Hospital to Rehab to Home

Written by Stannah

A lengthy stay in a hospital is a stressful experience regardless of age. However, transitioning back home can prove to be just as strenuous, especially for your older loved ones. Changing settings multiple times for older patients can be an emotionally stressful time and could potentially lead to further health problems and re-hospitalization if not handled properly. This change is known as Transfer Trauma, or Relocation Stress Syndrome (RSS), and is even taught about in classes from the Adult Education Centre.


A guide for transition care

Beauty granddaughter caring about her disabled grandfather

It is extremely important that you, as the caregiver, are fully prepared and involved with the transition process to ensure the risk of RSS remains low. This article provides a plan for welcoming our loved ones back into their own home gently, and with the best care possible.

Your Plan Should Start on the Day One of Admission

It is not uncommon for adult-child caregivers to wait until discharge from the hospital or rehab facility is imminent to formulate a plan for transitioning their loved one back home. This will often cause more difficulty. It is important to understand what treatments and therapies will be necessary post-hospital or rehab and you will need to make time to budget the proper funds and prepare their homes.

Speaking with facility officers will help you to understand the difficulties that may be faced upon return to the home. Your loved one will not be able to just “bounce back” to exactly how they were living in their home before. Progress will be slow, but sure.

Your loved one may need additional assistance such as an in-home caregiver or a Stannah Stairlift. It is important to be properly prepared for these expenses and have everything in order on the day of arrival back home for your loved one. If you are rushing around trying to organize things at the very last minute, you will likely cause them extra stress, too.

Hospitals typically offer a discharge planner or facility social worker. These employees can be a great resource for you when investigating the next steps for your loved one.

Create a Transition Checklist

During this process there will be a lot of information for you to process. With a checklist you will be able to remain focused and delegate tasks to other family members or paid helpers.  

Here are just a few examples to help you get started:

After Hospital Care and Transition Care from MyAgedCare

Care and Support after a Hospital Stay

Hospital Care: Before, During, and After


Realistically Assess Your Capability and Be Properly Trained

It is important to be upfront about you and your loved one’s capabilities to ensure that the hospital staff has realistic expectations of the type of care you can provide. Be involved in the process and ask questions. Observe therapy sessions and monitor the amount of medication your loved one should be receiving. Make sure you are fully-trained on any medications you must administer, therapeutic exercises you must oversee or medical equipment you will have to operate.

If you have to install a Stannah stairlift, do not worry, as our knowledgeable employees will offer full instructions on operation of the lift during installation.  

Don’t Try and Conquer Everything Alone

Transitioning a loved one back home is a tough process and it’s ok to ask questions. Seek help from occupational, physical or domestic assistance specialists, check the myagedcare.gov.au website for more details. These professionals are a wealth of knowledge and will be able to give you a fair evaluation of your loved one’s home and what modifications will be necessary. They will also be able to provide proper training on any equipment you might require. It is also important to enlist support from home health providers, nurses, doctors and technicians who can help provide these medical services at home.

During this transition process make sure to remain calm and utilize the wealth of resources available to assist you. Succumbing to the stress and anxiety associated with transitioning your loved one from rehab or the hospital back into their home can make the process exorbitantly more difficult. Proper preparation will allow you to conquer this process and ensure that your loved one is living safely and comfortably from the first day they arrive back home.

If you have any concerns about their mobility, make sure to contact one of our Stannah Stairlifts Australian distributors prior to discharge – there will be one in your local area. There are a variety of options available for installing lift chairs, including short-term rentals for those without chronic injuries. With a Stannah chairlift you will have the relief of knowing that your loved one is navigating their home safely and comfortably.