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How to Take Care of Heart Patients At Home Post Discharge

Posted by Royal Sundaram on 12 Sep 2013

Taking Care of heart patientsDid you know that heart patients face high risk of re-hospitalization within the first four weeks of discharge? This fact has been stated in a report released by the American Heart Association in May 2013. In fact, the report, authored by Kumar Dharmarajan, M.D., M.B.A, Columbia University Medical Center, also suggests that patients need utmost home care during this high risk period following discharge from the hospital.

A heart surgery is a major operation and recovery takes time. Initially, it is not unusual for the patient to feel tired and drained of energy. Slowly recovery takes place and the patient begins feeling much better than he/she felt before the operation. Here are some tips to follow in order to prevent complications during the post-discharge period and to ensure a faster recovery.

What You Can Do Post-Discharge:

It is natural to feel worried even after a successful heart surgery. However, your chances of feeling much better soon are higher if you take care of the following:

Rest and Activity Ratio:

A balanced rest and physical activity ratio is key to a faster recovery. Start with mild exercises that will enhance your mobility.


While brisk walking is considered as one of the best exercises recommended by doctors, it may not be the right thing during the post-discharge care period. Remember to begin slow and gradually increase the pace and distance. Walk daily to improve muscle tone, enhance blood circulation but enjoy the feel-good experience about your body.

Climbing Stairs:

As climbing stairs requires more energy, it is recommended to take a round with the physiotherapist at the hospital before discharge. This is to ensure that you are fit to climb stairs. Start at a slow pace. Avoid using the handrail for pulling your body. Use it merely for balance while you climb.

Sleeping Schedule:

Getting proper rest and sleep is essential for the body to restore energy after the day’s activities. Just after surgery, even regular activities like walking, bathing, shaving and talking can be extremely tiring. Although you need rest, avoid taking short naps during the day. Get a good stretch of sleep at night. It’s not a good practice to wake till late hours.


Following a healthy heart diet is crucial during the post-discharge period. Have a brief session with your cardiologist and the dietician before leaving the hospital. A low salt and low cholesterol diet suits your recovering heart. You can also try eating frequent meals in small quantities throughout the day instead of a couple of heavy meals. This will help keep a good appetite.


Medications play a vital role in your post-discharge recovery. You need to strictly follow the schedule explained by the nurse at the time of discharge. Certain anti-coagulant drugs might be required to be taken precisely as per the dosage. Make a to-do list every morning to avoid missing any medicine dosage.

Regular follow-ups with the doctor are highly recommended during the first three-to-four weeks after getting discharged from the hospital. All the best and hope you recover soon.

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