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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Preparing to Go Home

Talk with your physician and nurse about your care at home and begin making plans for who will help you when you are released from the hospital and for the first few weeks. For some patients, this may include a short stay at a skilled nursing facility. There, the focus will be to help you become stronger, exercise and perform self-care skills and routine activities.

Our Case Management department will assist with these plans. Before going home, your nurse will review your release instructions regarding diet, activity, and care of your incision. Your nurse also will review when and how to call your physician about any problems and follow-up physician visits.

You will be given a list of medications to take at home. Be sure to ask your nurse for a copy of the guidelines for taking medications following heart surgery. For each medication you will be taking, it is important that you understand:

  • The name of the medication
  • The purpose and how it works
  • Directions for how and when to take your medication
  • Potential side effects that should be reported to your physician
  • Special guidelines such as whether the medicine may interact with your other medicines or foods

Be sure you understand your care instructions when going home. Your physician or nurse will answer any questions that you or your family may have.

Patients typically leave the hospital at 11 a.m. An aide will take you by wheelchair to the driveway between the Feinberg and Galter pavilions. As you will be unable to drive, please arrange for a friend or family member to meet you at this location to take you home.


For more information regarding heart surgery, please contact the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at 1-866-662-8467 or request a first time appointment online.

Last UpdateMarch 16, 2011