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Long road to recovery after a hospital stay.

MANY people who have to be admitted to hospital for an illness or an operation think that once the doctor has told the ward staff they are well enough to go home, that's it.

But, in fact, both patient and their partner or family should be aware that this is only the start. A large part of the recovery begins at home.

"Remember if you have been admitted to hospital you have gone through quite an experience," warns Dr Catti Moss, from the Patient Partnership Group of the Royal College of GPs.

"You may have lost blood, you may have had an anaesthetic or been given drugs you are not used too, you may have lost weight and your body may be adjusting after an operation.

"You will have been kept in bed and in a very much slower environment than the world outside hospital.

So don't be surprised at how much you are affected when you return home."

She advises: "Physical activity is very important on the road to recovery, but take it steady.

"For the hospital to release you to go home, you only need to be able to get out of bed yourself and walk up and down the ward. So when you get home you may find you are unable to be as active as you might like, at first.

"However you can build this up very easily with a steady plan of gentle mobilisation, doing what is comfortable and gradually increasing it.

"Go for a walk, daily, and don't worry if at first you can only make the garden gate. Just go until you begin to feel tired, take a rest and then walk back - taking little rests on the way if you feel you need to.

"Listen to what your body is telling you. Try and make sure that if there's an uphill part of your walk, you do that bit on the way back.

"A daily walk is an important part of recovery, whether you have had a knee operation or a gall bladder removed, and is a way of exercising safely."
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:May 6, 2008
Words:349
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