For aging adults, a trip to the hospital has the potential to stretch on for several days, and medical procedures can bring a host of new caregiving responsibilities that continue even after the patient heads home.
Older adults often need greater levels of care during a hospital stay, and this translates into greater care requirements after a discharge as well. It’s important that family caregivers fully understand what’s needed as soon as possible, which can better equip them to organize the care necessary to keep their loved ones safe and help them heal.
Understanding Hospital Discharge Care
Depending on your loved one’s needs, you may decide on a short-term residential care community, or make other decisions based on their care needs. Whatever you choose, make sure that the caregiving responsibilities are within the scope you or the professional caregivers can provide. Missed medication and accidents can lead to hospital readmission, which may make it more difficult to return home each time.
Loved ones may also require additional equipment, like oxygen tanks or wheelchairs. Knowing about these in advance can give you and your family time to prepare the home by making sure it’s a comfortable, safe place to rest and recuperate.
Finally, coordinate elements of post-discharge care, including observation, wound-dressing or other tasks with other family members, as well as professional caregivers.
Preparation is Key
Without a plan, caring for a loved one after a hospital discharge can be incredibly difficult. Not only are the care requirements amplified, but caregivers may worry about anything that can go wrong: impaired mobility leading to a fall, drug interactions causing serious health complications, even the possibility of their loved one’s health failing to improve. All of these are valid concerns, but there are ways to find peace of mind.
Preparing for a discharge should begin as soon as your loved one is admitted to the hospital so that you and your family can arrange everything your loved one needs before they’re cleared to return home. This can prevent frantic searching for professional care or prevent the mistakes that may come from heightened anxiety and stress.
Knowing the specifics of your loved one’s post-discharge care, working with the doctors and nursing staff to get a clear picture of their health, and knowing your options are all ways to ease the stress and anxiety of caring for a recently hospitalized family member.
By being ready and organized, you can be sure that your loved one receives the best care possible from you and the rest of their care team. Even better, they’ll feel well-taken care of if they see you’re in control of the situation. Overall, everyone involved can breathe a little easier when the trickier aspects of care are given consideration in advance.
Finding a Care Solution
It’s important for family caregivers to recognize that hospitalization can frequently lead to a comprehensive care plan that lasts well beyond the hospital discharge or change the way they must approach care going forward. This can be a scary and difficult time for family caregivers. But preparedness can provide stability and security to the caregiver and help them feel more confident in their own abilities and the health of their loved one.
When a family member requires more care, it may be appropriate to consider a long-term solution, such as professional in-home care services. If you find yourself struggling to maintain a balance between full-time caregiving and your other responsibilities, in-home care can provide the post-discharge attention your loved ones need when you’re at work, or otherwise dealing with the necessities of life.
Above all, caregivers can make sure their loved ones receive the best care possible by being present when they can and being prepared to make the right care choices after a hospital discharge.
Get In-Home Support
FirstLight Home Care can give you the support you need to provide the best care for your loved one. Request a personalized price quote from your local FirstLight Home Care team.
If you have a heart for service and you make it your mission to help someone have their best day, consider a caregiver career with FirstLight Home Care. Find open positions with one of our local offices.