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Is an outpatient procedure always better than inpatient?

Being in the hospital can be stressful. It is difficult to sleep because staff members are checking on you and it is difficult to avoid thinking of the increasing medical bills the longer you stay.

Because of the added stress, many people opt for outpatient procedures when they can, both to recover in a more comfortable environment and to avoid the added expense of being in the hospital. Recovering at home, however, may not always be the best option.

Here’s what you should consider as you think about whether recovering outside the hospital is the best option for you.

Will you have adequate support at home?

Your loved ones may be just as excited as you are that recovering at home, instead of in the hospital, is an option for your upcoming treatment. Excitement, however, does not always translate into practical help when you get home.

Before you decide to receive treatment on an outpatient basis, talk to your healthcare team about what you can expect when for recovery and what support you will need. Then, talk to your loved ones about whether they will be able to help you thoroughly follow your discharge instructions.

If you have several people who are willing to help you, try to help them divide their time so they can avoid burnout.

Does recovery include complicated procedures?

You may have people willing to help you when you get home, but if you had a procedure that requires complex aftercare, your loved ones may not be able to provide the care that you need.

After your treatment, your healthcare team should give you written instructions for you and the people supporting you. They should also explain what you need to do and how to do it, so you have the best opportunity for a successful recovery.

Talk to your loved ones about what help you need. Encourage them to be candid with you if they have any hesitation about whether they can provide the type of support you need. While they may have good intentions, if you do not follow your discharge instructions carefully, you could be at risk for infection or injury.

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