Transitioning Home from the Hospital
Having a loved one in the hospital can be stressful, so when they are cleared for discharge home, it can be a relief. Many people find it more comforting and healing to recover in their own home instead of the hospital. However, going home can come with its share of challenges as well. You want to make sure your aging parent receives the best care possible to avoid readmission and has everything they need to thrive at home.
What Should You Ask?
Before your loved one leaves the hospital, read their discharge papers carefully and ask any questions you may have. Make sure you understand their diagnosis, recovery, and any complications to be alert for. If your loved one is receiving in-home care in Richmond, ask about any prescriptions and exactly how and when they should be taken so that the caregivers are provided with the correct information. Are there foods such as grapefruit that should be avoided or potential interactions? What are the most common side effects? Don’t forget to pick up prescriptions before leaving the hospital or on the way home.
Talk about their limitations and abilities as well. Are they able to get up and move about a lot? Are there restrictions on how much they can lift or time spent on their feet? These are all things to consider as you prepare their home for their return. You may have to make adjustments or rent/buy special equipment to aid their recovery.
Preparing Their Home
If you know ahead of time about modifications your elderly parent will need, such as a special bed or wheelchair, a shower chair, or grab bars, you should make these changes before they come home. Once they are home, pay attention to activities they may struggle with. Take up any rugs they may trip over and move cords out of the way. Put commonly used items in close reach so they do not have to bend or stretch to get them.
Hire an in-home caregiver to assist with tasks around the home and provide support and companionship. They can ensure that your loved one stays up-to-date with mail and appointments, takes their medicine as prescribed, has a clean home, and has help preparing meals. This can take some of the stress off of your senior and allow them to focus on their recovery.
Things to Remember
Remember that your loved one just came home from the hospital. It may take them some time to adjust and recover. They may not be up to full strength yet. Remind them to take it easy and follow the doctor’s orders. Overexerting themselves can increase risk of readmission.
Their recovery may also come with lifestyle changes. They may not be able to do or eat everything they used to before they were in the hospital. They may need additional therapy or care to regain skills or learn adaptive methods. Try to keep a positive attitude and be encouraging and supportive. Change can be tough, especially for seniors who are set in their ways. Make sure that everyone is on the same page and working toward the same goals.