Patients are discharged from the ward when they have had their operations or treatments and are well enough to not need hospital care anymore. Patients from out of Wellington who have been transferred urgently by air ambulance for an operation, may still need to make arrangements to get back home from Wellington afterwards.
If you live alone you may wish to arrange for family or friends to stay for a few days after you get home from the operation. This is especially important after heart operations (coronary artery bypass or heart valve surgery) when we recommend that patients have a support person available for a week. An alternative to this is for patients to arrange convalescent care, or access support from their own DHB. Every DHB has social workers who can assess what support may be available, and whether these are funded or not.
You should not drive for at least four weeks after having heart surgery.
Follow up after discharge depends on what is required. Most patients will be given a prescription for medications to get from a pharmacy. Patients are often asked to see the GP a few days after leaving hospital. Surgeons or other specialists sometimes want to see patients in clinic a few weeks after their operation.
Patients who have had heart operations are usually referred to a cardiac rehabilitation or specialist cardiac nurse service. These support recovery and ongoing wellbeing, as well as reducing patients’ risk of future heart events.
For more information about recovering from heart surgery view our home management guidelines.