Easing a Parent’s Transition Back Home Following a Hospital Discharge
When an elderly parent is sent home after being hospitalized for a health issue, it can be difficult for them to adjust. This is especially true if they are experiencing a loss of mobility or can’t do as much as they once did around the house after a hospital discharge.
Bringing in a home health aide for a parent in this situation is often the best way to make sure your loved one is safe and able to keep up with day-to-day activities such as making meals, light housekeeping, bathing and more. In many cases, Medicare will pay for this type of care for up to two months after a hospital discharge.
While this seems like the perfect scenario, the fact is that your parent will need to ease into what can be a difficult transition. Not only are they unable to perform the once routine tasks of daily living, they now have to adjust to an unfamiliar person in their home. Here are some things to keep in mind during this time:
- Make sure that you work with an in-home health care agency that is experienced in matching seniors with the right caregiver. While there will be a period of getting to know each, it is important that your parent feels safe and comfortable with their caregiver.
- Give caregivers a list of the types of things your parent likes – and doesn’t like. This includes food, television shows or anything else you feel is important.
- Talk individually – and often – to your parent and their caregiver to see if either has any issues or concerns. This will prevent little problems from becoming big ones.
- When possible, have the caregiver come to the hospital or rehab center to meet your parent before they are discharged.
- Evaluate your parent’s home to make sure there are no hidden dangers. Install night lights and bars and railings and get rid of unsecured rugs or cords that could cause slips and falls. You may even have to hire a contractor to add ramps and widen doorways, for example. If you are unsure what is or isn’t safe, many in-home health care agencies can help. Physicians Choice Private Duty is one such agency.
- If your loved one will be home alone for periods of time, make sure they have a phone nearby so you can check in with them and they can call you if they need something. You may also want to consider investing in one of the many remote monitoring systems on the market.
Surveys show that approximately 90% of seniors wish to remain in their homes as long as possible. After all, home is where most people feel the most safe, happy and comfortable. This familiarity can actually lead to a quicker recovery and better health.
If your elderly parent is hospitalized unexpectedly you will have a lot on your mind. However, it is important that you begin to plan for their post-hospital or rehab care as soon as possible. This way you will have a plan in place that allows your loved one to be cared for the best way possible after a hospital discharge.