Unfortunately, hospital admission for various health issues is not uncommon among seniors. While checking into an unfamiliar hospital setting is a stressful time for seniors, recent studies have found that the real danger of the visit is in the 30-day window that follows the hospital discharge. During this period of recovery, there are a number of crucial tasks for family members and caregivers to keep in mind, including fully understanding the medication process, as well as the hospital’s instructions to follow at home. This is why many families turn to professional in-home caregivers during this period to ensure the best return to health for their elderly loved one.
When it comes to a hospital discharge, seniors may no longer be sick enough to stay hospitalized, but on the other hand, may not yet be well enough to be on their own and unsupervised. Therefore, there are some extra measures that family members and caregivers need to take during this time to ensure suitable conditions at home. Seniors who don’t have adequate care at home often return to the hospital more frequently, in fact, nearly one-fifth of seniors are re-hospitalized within 30 days. A successful hospital discharge means recovery continues without interruption. Before your older loved one is discharged, here are some considerations to think about below.
Understand Continuity of Care
First of all, note that a hospital stay doesn’t fully end with the discharge and extra care will be necessary. This may mean frequent doctors’ appointments, physical therapy, and following a strict diet. Try your best to create a continuity of care plan and consider cooperating with a professional in-home caregiver to take some stress off your shoulders.
Be Aware Of The Risk
Note that your loved one may be frail after a hospital stay and their immune system can be compromised and therefore, more prone to developing health complications. Keeping visitors to an absolute minimum, self-quarantining, and encouraging in-home activities throughout the duration of their recovery are some of the best things that you can do to prevent hospital readmission, especially now during the coronavirus pandemic.
Arranging transportation for a hospital discharge is important, especially under the current circumstances, where social distancing guidelines should be maintained as much as possible.
An essential step to take to help your recovering loved one is to make sure they’re getting adequate amounts of food, rest, and relaxation. Make sure the fridge is fully stocked and any medical equipment they could potentially need is available at home.
Reintroduce Physical Activity
Deconditioning from forced bed rest is very common in recently hospitalized people and can cause further health problems. Therefore, it’s important to slowly and gently reintroduce physical activity into their life, even if that just means a walk in the park or climbing the stairs a couple of times. This will take planning and time.
Reintroduce Routine Into Your Loved One’s Life
Hospitalization means disruption to a person’s daily routine. Depending on the length of their stay, your loved one may now be used to the rhythm of life as a hospital patient. When getting them used to life at home again, make sure things move slowly and gently, but do reintroduce a daily routine into their life.
How Can An In-Home Caregiver Help?
Comfort And Safety
An in-home caregiver can do a home evaluation and help create a comfortable and safe environment, thinking about mobility challenges, decluttering the floor, and maximizing comfort for your loved one. They can also help with minor housekeeping tasks like grocery shopping, cleaning, and meal preparations.
After hospitalization, your loved one’s emotional state may be fragile, so simply having someone to talk to who provides understanding, or someone to just watch TV with can mean a lot. An in-home caregiver can provide solid and reliable support, whether it’s going for walks, running errands together, or playing games.
Your loved one may be required to follow a restricted diet after a hospital stay, and they certainly need to eat enough nutritious food to regain their strength. A caregiver can keep a careful eye on this and prepare simple healthy meals accordingly.
Your loved one will likely be required to take certain medications after a hospital stay, and missing a dose or treatment can be a serious issue. Having a professional there to remind your loved one to take their medications at the prescribed time, as well as help them with doing so is invaluable.
Personal care and hygiene are an important part of recovery, but can be difficult for your elderly loved one to do alone. Good hygiene helps minimize the risk of illness and health complications, and it also helps your loved one feel more comfortable, refreshed, and looked after.
Exercise And Activity
Strength-building activities and mental engagement are equally important. In-home caregivers have various methods to reintroduce these into your loved one’s life in a safe and secure manner. They can help find activities your loved one may enjoy, help them get back into their old hobbies, or suggest simple exercises that are safe for your loved one to do at home.
At Open Arms Solutions we offer various care services, so we can help you find a trustworthy in-home caregiver as well. Learn more about our services and expertise here.