During Rehabilitation From An Illness Or Injury
What many families of aging seniors don't fully understand is that a successful discharge plan after a hospital stay begins on the day of admission to the hospital. Sometimes, even your loved one's social worker may need urging to begin preparation.
The number of days your senior spends in the hospital is often unpredictable. If you discover one morning that your loved one is going to be discharged at 3:00 p.m. that day, you don't want to be scrambling to create a plan at the last minute.
Whether your loved one is facing hip replacement recovery, knee replacement recovery or rehabilitation from another illness or injury, certain preparations for their return home must be made ahead of time. Ready to learn more about your senior's post-hospital care?
Request A Morning Discharge
The first step you must take to develop a plan for your senior's return from the hospital is to request a morning discharge. Sometimes, hospitals discharge their clients in the late afternoon or evening. This presents a problem because your senior's pharmacy may be closed upon discharge. Consequently, your loved one would be unable to pick up their medication.
Your loved one may also require additional equipment such as a hospital bed or wheelchair that is not available after stores close in the evening. Additionally, if your loved one is discharged in the morning, employees at the hospital are able to help you resolve issues and suggest in-house solutions.
Planning For Post-Hospital Care
Once your aging senior has been discharged, a home care plan should involve following up with rehab. You or your loved one's caregiver should bring them to physician's visits, physical therapy or other necessary appointments that are consistent with the doctor-recommended post-hospital care plan.
Whatever your senior's health situation, it is vital that you choose a care plan you and your senior are comfortable with. You should begin the process of finding an appropriate facility or at-home care provider as soon as you know that your loved one will require additional care upon their hospital discharge.
Choosing The Right In-Home Care Provider
If you decide that the best option for your senior's care is to hire a home care provider, the caregiver should be trained by the nursing staff and rehab team at the hospital, ideally. Your caregiver should fully understand your loved one's medical condition and how to provide care for specific symptoms and ailments.
A suitable caregiver is an extension of the family who fits well within your loved one's support network and eases your family's burden of care. Just as a traditional family member would be trained by the nursing staff and rehabilitation team, your senior's caregiver receives all necessary instruction.
Proper Caregiver Instruction
The advanced home care service you and your senior decide upon should encourage caregivers to spend time at the hospital training on the proper techniques for care, such as for gastronomy tube (G-tube) feeding if this is a required part of your senior's care. G-tube feeding knowledge is useful when an aging senior requires a special diet due to a stroke or other related health issue.
Other areas your at-home care provider should study are safety training, mobility training for wheelchairs and similar devices, and how to operate a hospital bed. Prior to your loved one's discharge, hospital staff should also instruct your caregiver on your loved one's current medications, so they are aware of any side effects to watch for while providing care.
Administration Of Medications
Your loved one may be comfortable and knowledgeable on how to take medications themselves, but if not, you should set up a pillbox and oversee the administration of medications. As an alternative, you may request that a skilled home health nurse or Geriatric Care Manager oversee your senior's medications. A caregiver can assist with medication reminders and oversee that your loved one's pillbox is in order.
One of the most common errors involved in post-hospital care is aging adults' mismanagement of new medications.
Your senior may be used to taking their old blood pressure medication, for example. When they return home, they may inadvertently take one dose of their old medication and one dose of their new medication. Improper administration of medication is detrimental to your loved one's health.
Your Senior's Post-Hospital Diet
Your loved one's at-home care provider should empty the refrigerator of spoiled goods prior to discharge. If your senior has orders to change their diet, a caregiver should assist in buying certain foods that adhere to a heart-healthy diet, for example, or other doctor-recommended diets.
Your senior may be unable to cook and prepare three meals per day. In this case, a caregiver should prepare meals according to the diet specified by your senior's physician. These meals should also appeal to your loved one's preferences.
Finding the right caregiver for your loved one's post-hospital care may seem like a challenge when you are faced with all the details of a hospital stay. Whether you choose a facility-based care service or at-home care, you should feel confident that your senior is receiving proper treatment.
If you have questions about preparing for your loved one's hospital discharge or finding a caregiver service, the first person you should speak with is a Geriatric Care Manager (GCM). Keen Home Care's experienced GCMs are available to offer guidance.
Ready to learn more about creating a care plan for your loved one? Receive valuable information about senior care services by calling 877-852-2737 to speak with a Geriatric Care Manager at Keen Home Care.