When your aging parent ends up it the hospital, it’s no doubt a stressful period for the entire family.
What many people don’t realize is that most hospitals aren’t set up to provide long-term care to patients. As such, the moment your loved one arrives in the hospital, the discharge planning process has already begun.
You and your loved one will likely meet with a discharge planner–usually a registered nurse or a social worker–within the first day or two of your parent’s stay to coordinate the move from the hospital to an appropriate setting, e.g. back home, an assisted living facility, or a nursing home.
As difficult as it seems to corner the doctor to get the answers you need, when the time comes, you should be prepared to ask the right questions.
Below is a list of questions, adapted from HealthWorks Collective, that you should ask the discharge planner (or if you’re lucky enough to be able to talk to one for more than a few seconds, the doctor).
On your aging parent’s condition:
- Can you explain the diagnosis at discharge?
- What type of health care services have been prescribed and how long will they be needed?
- During recovery, what milestones and setbacks can we expect?
- What about follow-up appointments? Who is in charge of scheduling them?
- Who is paying for this health care?
On the home environment:
- What equipment will we need at home (hospital bed, wheelchair, etc.)?
- Will someone teach us how to use the equipment we’re unfamiliar with?
- Who pays for the equipment?
- What about reordering supplies?
On providing care:
- What type of personal care does my loved one require?
- Is there anyone who can teach me techniques for skills I need to administer care (needle injections, changing dressings, etc.)?
- Are there any dietary restriction we need to be aware of?
- Are there any new medications that have been prescribed?
- Are there any side effects associated with these new medications?
- How should these medications be taken (with or without food, etc.)?
As you can see, there are many questions to be asked when your elderly parent is being discharged from the hospital.
By taking the time to be prepared, you can make sure you’re not left scrambling to accommodate Mom when she returns home with a list of care needs that are crucial to her health.
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“Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit http://www.private-duty.pchhc.com.”