Being discharged after a lengthy stay in the hospital does not always mean that the ordeal is over. Often, it is just the next step to recovery. While our loved one is in the hospital, we are so focused on their health that we often forgot about what happens after the discharge. The continuity of the care between the hospital and home cannot be compromised. Sadly, this is often the case with elderly patients. The family is not prepared or equipped to give the same level of treatment. Some studies have shown that up to 40% of seniors who leave the hospital have medication errors; some 18% are re-admitted after 30 days. However, your elderly loved does not need to stay in the hospital permanently. The home can be a safe place for them; all that is needed is some preparation and proper care.
Plan It Out
Don’t wing it; plan ahead. A few days before the discharge date, sit down with the patient and their doctors and discuss a plan. Find out their needs, medication, necessary medical equipment, follow-up appointments, any dietary needs, exercise plan, and anything else that may be required for proper patient care. Ask for recommendations and suggestions from the doctors and hospital staff on how you can make the transition as seamless as possible. Don’t be afraid to call the doctor if something occurs to you later. Next, meet with the entire family to come up with the plan. Make sure you keep your loved one involved. They should have input every step of the way. Also, make sure to plan for proper transportation on the day of discharge.
Prepare The Home
Depending on their needs, you may need to do some work around the home to prepare for the patient’s return. If special medical equipment is required, have it installed and tested a few days before they return in case it is defective and needs to be returned. If your loved one will be bedridden upon their return, set up their bedroom in the most comfortable way possible. As well, clear up any wires or tripping hazards in the home. Do a safety audit to make sure that they are returning to a safe environment. As well, if needed, stock the house with food and necessities.
After a lengthy hospital stay, some people are anxious after coming home. A patient is constantly monitored in the hospital; it is a safe place. Even if they want to leave, your loved one may worry about their safety and health when no longer being watched 24-hours a day. Try and be sensitive and understanding to this anxiety. Assure them that you are there and will help. Organize a schedule with their family and friends; try to arrange it so someone is always over and spending time with them. Happy people are healthy.
Get Professional Help
If their needs are serious enough immediately after a hospital discharge, you may require a home health care worker. As much as you may want to personally attend to your loved one’s health needs, it is sometimes safer to temporary allow a trained professional do so. This is especially true with dementia patients. At iCare Home Health, we provide the premier home care assistance and health services in Burlington, Oakville, and the entire Greater Toronto Area. Expecting a loved one back from the hospital soon? Our Hospital Discharge package will give them exactly what they need for a smooth transition. Let us tend to their health care needs while you just enjoy spending time with them. Contact us for more information today.