Today's Medicine

When Methodist Calls: Healing and Help at Home

Home after surgery

In the haze of recovery following a surgical procedure, you may not know or remember all the questions you need or want to ask before leaving the hospital. When the healing begins at home, a simple call from Methodist can bring so much comfort.

“When patients go home from surgery, we call the very next day,” said Carrie Phillips, BSN, RN, CCM, service leader for care management at Methodist Hospital and Methodist Women’s Hospital. 

Lingering questions answered

That phone call from a Methodist nurse serves as a touch point to ensure that any lingering questions are answered and that healing is right on track.

“We call and go over the patient’s medications, and discuss any symptoms they should report to their provider,” said Phillips. “We also go over any information about follow-up appointments and answer any questions they may have. Based on their condition, we may then continue to call some patients as they recover just to check in on them.”

Nurses may ask questions such as:

  • How are you feeling today?
  • Are you having pain?
  • Are your symptoms lingering or worsening?
  • Are you able to eat or drink? 
  • What does your output look like?
  • Have you had any dramatic weight gain?

The answers to those questions can help nurses pinpoint if they need additional follow-up or more immediate care. 

“We want to know those things so we can call their provider and maybe modify some medications if needed so the patient continues to get better and doesn’t need to go back into the hospital,” said Phillips.

The information you need

They also want to make sure you are healing comfortably at home and that you have the information you need to get better.

“As patients get further out from surgery, they may have lots of questions,” said Phillips. “They may ask about a lack of sleep because they can’t lay down or they are having pain. They may need ideas on how to fall asleep or stay asleep. They may have questions about nutrition, so we try and get educational materials to them. They ask about activity and how much they should do.”

A helpful go-between

Nurses may also act as a conduit between the patients and their health care provider.

“Because of their experience, they know a lot of times what the physician is going to prefer and can give the patient their recommendations,” said Phillips. “If the nurses aren't sure and the patients are having a problem, the nurses may call the physician for the patient. They may arrange for the patient to see the doctor if something's not going as they had hoped or maybe they can just pass on a reply from the physician to the patient.”

Staying healthy at home

In the end, these nurses really just want to ensure patients stay healthy following their hospital stay.

“We really do care about how they are doing once they leave us here at the hospital,” said Phillips. “You’re finally at home, in your comfortable environment, and this is an extension of The Meaning of Care that they received when they were in the hospital.”

Read more from our 3-part series, “When Methodist Calls”: