How To Develop A Plan For Your Aging Loved One’s Transitional Care

Posted by Machelle Thompson on Jul 30, 2015 8:32:00 AM

plan-for-aging-loved-one-transitional-carePreparing your loved one for transitional care at home requires help from a care team. A Geriatric Care Manager, hospital staff, a social worker and your senior’s physician should work together to ensure your loved one’s recovery from surgery, injury or illness continues in the home setting.

As you and your senior’s care team create a transitional care plan, keep the following characteristics of a suitable at-home care strategy in mind. Learn more about providing your loved one with advanced home care during their transition home from the hospital.

Planning Ahead For Hospital Discharges

One of the elements of a successful transitional care strategy is planning for your loved one’s hospital discharge. You should begin preparations for your senior’s release on the day they are admitted to the hospital.

It is usually unpredictable how long your loved one is going to be in the hospital. Given the complex nature of discharges, having a plan in place is preferable to discovering your senior is being released before you have developed a care strategy.

The best time to be discharged is in the morning, even though some hospitals release patients in the afternoon or late at night. At these later times, patients are often unable to get their medications from the pharmacy or buy necessary equipment such as hospital beds or wheelchairs.

Hospital staff members are still available to answer phone calls and questions in the afternoon if your loved one is discharged in the morning. As such, staff may be able to offer in-house solutions to problems your loved one experiences upon their return home.

Transitional Caregiver Training

If your loved one requires in-home transitional care, the caregiver should be trained on your loved one’s condition prior to discharge. Just as a family member would be educated on providing care for your senior, caregivers are trained by nursing staff and the rehab team as though they are an extension of the family.

When aging adults are recovering from illness or injury, caregivers receive instruction in some of the following areas based on the senior’s condition:

  • G-tube feeding
  • Safety training
  • Mobility training
  • Hospital bed training
  • Wheelchair training
  • Walker training

Administering Medication

It is critical that your loved one takes their medication properly every day. If your senior is not comfortable or knowledgeable on how to administer their own medication, a family member should set up a pillbox and the transitional caregiver may oversee the medication schedule with medication reminders.

One of the most common mistakes aging adults make when they are released from the hospital is mismanaging new medication orders. Your loved one may be used to taking their old blood pressure medication, for example, and continue taking it along with their new medication. This may cause serious health issues.

Preparing Food For Specific Diets

Prior to discharge, transitional caregivers should dispose of any spoiled food in your loved one’s refrigerator. It is also helpful if the caregiver restocks your senior’s food supply ahead of time so a trip to the grocery store is not necessary during the busy transition home.

Your loved one may receive a physician’s order for a new heart healthy diet or similar food restrictions. In this instance, the caregiver should follow the diet’s guidelines when purchasing and preparing food. A proper diet may help your loved one sustain a healthy condition after a hospital stay. Preferably, the caregiver should also prepare food that your senior enjoys and is accustomed to.

Don’t wait until the last day of your loved one’s hospital stay to develop a plan for care. Prepare yourself and your senior for the transition home by speaking with an expert about your senior’s specific needs and how to address them.

Geriatric Care Managers are able to offer guidance on the transitional care process from the beginning planning stages through your senior’s return home from the hospital. Help ensure your loved one’s recovery is as smooth as possible by contacting a Keen Geriatric Care Manager.

Ready to learn how advanced home care and other senior care services may benefit your loved one? Receive expert advice on developing a care plan.


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