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After a long stay in hospital it can be very difficult for the elderly population to adjust to a change in environment, either a return home or placement into a 24 hour care home facility. Physiotherapy restores mobility, balance and confidence to improve quality of life and ease the transition from one setting to the next. At, our expert physiotherapists have valuable experience in both the hospital and community setting providing an in-depth understanding of the distress and unease that is caused by a discharge from hospital. We can help to minimise the anxiety and provide a stress-free smooth transition from hospital to home.

Cause of post-hospital syndrome

Whilst in hospital, individuals spend the majority of their time resting in bed or on a chair next to their bed watching television or reading. Helpful staff are nearby to assist the individual to get washed and dressed in the morning and provide meals and snacks. Patients are very well cared for in hospital while they are recovering from ill health.

However, once the individual is medically stable and safe to be discharged from hospital they will return home or be discharged to a care facility. There are a number of reasons why an individual may struggle to re-settle at home or into a new environment. For example, in hospital there are electronic bed controls to assist with comfort, they have lots of friends and family to visit, there are no trip hazards on the corridors and there are rails in the spacious well-equipped bathrooms.

At home, the individual may find themselves in a situation where they are less able to move around due to limited space and lack of assistance. As a result, the individual may feel less confident and become tired very quickly. They may have forgotten how to do tasks that they previously carried out independently such as preparing meals, using the shower or doing the laundry. Walking around in the home environment is also quite different to practicing in the hospital setting due to carpets, rugs and steps. This may cause the individual to be more at risk of falls and balance issues. However, if the individual does not move around enough once they are at home, this can lead to swollen ankles and feelings of loneliness and an inability to manage.

In order to prevent post-hospital syndrome, it is essential that the individuals discharge from hospital is carefully planned by a team of health professionals and the patient’s family to ensure a safe and successful re-integration back into the community.

Functional rehabilitation exercises assisted by physiotherapist following hospital stay.Above: Functional rehabilitation exercises assisted by physiotherapist following hospital stay.

Treatment of post-hospital syndrome

After a period of ill health in hospital, the individual may not be as strong or mobile as they were previously. It is important that they complete regular exercise and try to return to a normal daily routine. They may need help and support from family, friends and social services.

Physiotherapy for post-hospital syndrome

Individuals who have been recently discharged from hospital significantly benefit from specialist physiotherapy assessment and treatment. Depending on the individual’s problems and goals, physiotherapy treatment for post-hospital syndrome may include: Your specialist physiotherapist will assess your ability to sit, stand, walk and climb the stairs in your home environment. If your balance and walking is difficult, you may need to use some equipment such as a rotastand, Zimmer frame or walking stick to move around safely. Your physiotherapist will teach you a range of muscle strengthening exercises that will improve your ability to stand and walk efficiently. As a result of these exercises your arms, legs and trunk will get stronger and you will be able to stand or walk for longer. Your progress will be monitored by your physiotherapist and reviewed regularly using a range of standardised outcome measures. Treatment sessions will be focused on the achievement of short term goals set during the initial assessment, for example to walk to the bathroom or manage the front door step. Long term goals may include climbing the stairs or walking to the end of the road but these are very much dependant on the individuals clinical presentation and aims.

There are many benefits to physiotherapy after a hospital stay. They include: Your private physiotherapist from can liaise with your NHS physiotherapist or any other health professionals involved in your care if appropriate and only with your consent. It can be very useful to communicate with your doctor, social services provider or district nurse in order to ensure the individual is receiving the best possible standard of care from all parties involved. For example, if the patient’s mobility is improving with physiotherapy and they are now able to walk with a Zimmer frame, it is important that the carers from social services know how to help the individual walk when they are visiting. Our experienced physiotherapists are able to provide training and education for families and carers regarding mobility, positioning, transfers and use of aids and equipment.

Why for post-hospital syndrome

At we understand that it is distressing and worrying to return home after a long hospital stay. Our specialist physiotherapists can help to overcome problems and difficulties with caring, expert advice and treatment. The main goal of physiotherapy is to return to previous level of function and ability to gain an overall improvement in quality of life.
  • No waiting lists
  • Thorough, professional service
  • Treatment at home, in clinic or in a care home
  • Friendly, caring physiotherapists
  • Flexible appointment times
  • Access to occupational therapy
  • Proven track record
Physiotherapy can significantly help to reduce the problems associated with the difficult transition from hospital to the home environment. Treatment sessions can be provided in the individual’s home or at one of our clinic locations. To book an appointment or have a free telephone consultation with a specialist physiotherapist please contact us now on 0330 088 7800. You can also book an appointment online today!

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