For aging adults, a trip to the hospital has the potential to stretch on for several days. Medical procedures can bring many new caregiving responsibilities that persist even after the patient heads home. If you cannot be there, you would like to have someone in your home who is like family or a friend.
The truth is, older adults need greater levels of care during a hospital stay, and this translates into greater care requirements after a discharge. Often, professional care is needed because post-operative care and physical therapy require trained professionals. It’s critical that family caregivers fully understand the requirements and challenges they’ll face as soon as possible, which can better equip them to organize necessary care.
Understanding Hospital Recommendations and Discharge Care
For instance, did you know that family caregivers are not required to accept the hospital’s recommendations for post-discharge care facilities if they have a suitable replacement? Some tasks, like physical therapy, can be carried out at home by a home health organization or in a professional caregiving setting such as a rehab center, as long as caregivers can specify these providers in the discharge document. Although this requires more effort on behalf of the caregiver to organize, it can provide a way to build a more flexible, appropriate care strategy after a loved one leaves the hospital.
Depending on your loved one’s needs, you might decide on a short-term residential care facility or make other decisions based on their mobility and 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 be cause for hospital readmission, which can make it more difficult to return home each time.
Loved ones also might require additional equipment, such as oxygen tanks or wheelchairs. Knowing about these in advance can give you and your family time to prepare the home by removing hazards and making sure it’s a comfortable place to rest and recuperate. Finally, coordinate elements of post-discharge care, including observation, wound-dressing or other tasks with other family members and 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 might 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 they don’t have to come true.
Preparing for that discharge should begin as soon as your loved one is admitted to the hospital so that you and your family can put together everything your loved one needs before they’re cleared. This can prevent frantic searching for professional care or prevent the mistakes that can come from heightened anxiety and stress.
Knowing the specifics of your loved one’s post-discharge care, knowing your options, and working with the doctors and nursing staff to get a clear picture of their health ease the stress and anxiety of caring for a recently-hospitalized family member. The best way to prevent something from going wrong is to know what might happen and how to prevent it before it ever does.
By being prepared, you can be sure that your loved ones will receive the best care possible from you and the rest of their care team. Even better, they’ll feel better taken care of if they see you’re in control of their situation. Overall, everyone involved can breathe a little easier when the trickier aspects of care are given consideration in advance.
It’s important for caregivers to recognize that a hospitalization can frequently lead to increased care requirements that might last well beyond the hospital discharge or change the way they have to approach care going forward. This can be a scary and difficult time for family caregivers, and those feelings are valid. Preparedness can provide stability and security to the caregiver and help them feel more confident in their own caregiving abilities and the health of their loved one.
When loved ones require more care, it might 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, DayBreak Adult Care is an in-home care service that 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.
DayBreak Adult Care Services can be the in-home help your loved one needs after a hospital discharge. Nearly as important, DayBreak’s ownership and management are right here, known around town for our whatever-it-takes dedication to those we serve. At DayBreak, our clients are neighbors, not cases. We answer to you instead of to some distant corporation or franchisor. DayBreak knows you don’t open your door to just anyone. Your home is for family and friends, which is why we are proud you can walk in our front door on Hayne Avenue and meet the leaders of our team. Let’s become friends on the way to being like family.
Linda Hart Lucas
Community Relations Director
DayBreak Adult Care Services