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SCAN Health Plan Offers Seniors Five Tips to Prepare for Surgery

LONG BEACH, Calif., Aug. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- It's natural to have concerns before undergoing a surgery, but there are steps you can take beforehand that will make things easier. According to Timothy Schwab, MD, chief medical officer at SCAN Health Plan, planning ahead will help whether you're having an outpatient procedure or spending a few days in the hospital.

"While it is important for every person regardless of age to be physically and mentally prepared for surgery, this is particularly critical for seniors," said Dr. Schwab. "Most seniors have high levels of anxiety and many unanswered questions before going into the hospital, and taking the time to do a few sensible things beforehand makes the experience far more manageable." Dr. Schwab offers seniors these five tips:

Meet with the surgeon and get the details. Be comfortable with the person who will be doing your surgery. Find out exactly what will happen before, during and after so you know what to expect. Make sure you receive instructions from the hospital or surgeon's office specific to the type of surgery you are having. For example, you may need to stop taking certain medications, such as aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications a week before surgery. Keep asking questions until you feel well informed.

Stop smoking. Stopping smoking will reduce your surgery risks and improve your recovery. Many long-term smokers have finally quit smoking when faced with surgery.

Make post-surgery arrangements beforehand. When can you expect to be home? Who will drive you? Will you need follow-up outpatient or home health care? Will you need help at home from a family member or professional caregiver? These are things that can be arranged ahead of time and will make the transition home more comfortable.

Picture yourself at home after surgery. If you will be using a walker, for example, will it be easy to move around your home? If not, have someone help move furniture out of the way, remove loose rugs and tape down cords and prepare the home for your arrival.

Know your insurance benefits. Your health plan should be able to help you with some arrangements and may also be able to refer you to important resources in your area. They can also let you know if you have any in-home recovery benefits. SCAN members, for example, have access to in-home personal care and home delivered meals following a hospital stay.

"Nothing can totally relieve the natural nervousness that accompanies surgery," says Dr. Schwab, "but our experience with more than 100,000 members tells us that prior planning can make a huge difference."

For more than 30 years, SCAN Health Plan has been focusing on the unique needs of people with Medicare and today is the fourth largest nonprofit Medicare Advantage Plan in the United States. The company currently serves more than 105,000 members in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Ventura and Kern counties. In Arizona, SCAN offers a health plan for Medicare and Medicaid-eligible individuals and also provides long-term care services to individuals enrolled in the state's long-term care system in Maricopa County. Further information may be obtained at

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