I am hearing more and more accounts of patients being sent home the same day after, for example, an out-patient mastectomy or even two days after spinal surgery. Often no arrangements are made for nursing or other care and sometimes the patient goes home to an empty house with no one to care for him or her.
When CEOs of health insurance companies and big hospitals are making enormous salaries, this seems immoral. What has happened to medicine being a caring profession? If the patient is on Medi-Cal, as in California, or Medicaid for the rest of the U.S., it is even worse. My advice to families, if this kind of postoperative rapid discharge is to occur is that they contact the CEO of the hospital or the health plan. In my book, 101 Ways To The Best Medical Care, I give several Web sites where advocates can be found. Medicare has advocates, as do other programs, even Medicaid. it has been well proven that when patients are sent home too soon after a serious illness or surgery that they cost the hospitals and insurance companies even more. Readmissions are common because the patients have not had adequate post-operative care and get in to trouble.
Home health aides are available if the primary doctor has an Rx faxed to the local Home Health Agency. These visits are covered by health insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare and RN's, P.T.s and aides can be provided at no cost.