If your loved one is coming home from the hospital soon, then you may need to go through a transition that may be difficult to navigate. It can be intimidating to go from being inundated with medical facts and helpful advice to having only your own instinct and written notes to help you navigate being a family caregiver. There are many instances where your loved one can go into the hospital as a self-sufficient individual and come out needing quite a bit of rehab and therapy.
When it comes to this transition, it is important to recognize where your limitations are and create a plan.
What To Do While Your Loved One Is Still in the Hospital:
Before you make a plan for how to care for your loved one when they leave the hospital, it is important to know what to expect. This process starts while they are still in the hospital. According to a caregiver.org article, here is a good start:
- Step 1 – Speak with the doctors and nurses about what to expect. Ask questions and take time to absorb the information. Try to have these conversations a few days before discharge so that you are able to come back with follow-up questions.
- Step 2 – Do some research to figure out what is covered by insurance, and what is covered by Medicare. If the doctor suggests that you investigate a rehabilitation or nursing facility for a certain period of time before coming home, make sure you know how much time is covered. Inform your doctor so that they can suggest a plan of action that gets you the most out of the time you have.
- Step 3 – Make sure that anyone else involved in the care that is required after your loved one comes home from the hospital is involved in the plan and understands the part that they play.
Prepare for the Discharge Plan:
Right before your loved one is actually discharged; a social worker and hospital staff will go over a discharge plan with you. This includes the following information, if any of these topics aren’t covered, feel free to bring them up.
- Complete Evaluation – this includes any pertinent information about where your loved one is in the beginning of their recovery process.
- Medications – this includes a complete review of current, past, and future medications that are needed, as well as ensuring that there are no duplications, omissions, harmful side effects, or bad drug interactions.
- Support – a discussion will happen where the various forms of rehabilitation and support that are necessary for recovery are lined out. You can also expect any dietary requirements or additional supplements necessary to be discussed at this time.
- Arrangements – if there will be a need for special equipment, follow-up appointments, or any other tests, these will usually be discussed at this time.
- Resources & Help – The social worker at the hospital as well as staff should go out of their way to ensure that you have resources available for assistance, whether that includes simple questions about the recovery process, or further support.
- Reasonable Expectations – The doctors, nurses, and hospital staff will let you know what to expect when it comes down to what your loved one will actually be capable of. Listen carefully, because this will inevitably be where your duties start, whether you choose to do them yourself or get help.
Things will Change. Be flexible.
Your loved one may recover more rapidly than expected, or there can be setbacks. You may discover that you need additional help, and some assistance may be able to be taken over by other friends and family. Regardless of the best laid plans, things often change so it is important to stay flexible and patient. There may be additional trips to the doctor, additional tests, equipment that you didn’t think your loved one would need, and so much more. Instead of assuming that you are capable of doing anything for a couple of months, plan on needing help.
What is After Hospital Care and How Can It Help My Loved One?
When your loved one finally transitions from the hospital to their home, there is a higher risk of falls, mismanaging medications, and having issues with daily tasks or chores. After Hospital Care is in-home help to assist in smoothing that transition so that your loved one has an easier time of getting used to a new schedule. This type of assistance includes the following services:
- Help understanding and following discharge orders
- Prescription pick-up and errands
- Medication reminders
- Grocery Shopping
- Transportation to and from appointments
- Authorized communication with healthcare providers for a coordinated transfer of care
- Authorized communications with loved ones
- Meal prep
- Assistance with mobility such as walking, position changes, and transfers like moving from a bed to a chair.