Senior Care News

Tips for Transitioning from Hospital to Home 2

Seniors may find themselves without a plan to assist them in their post-hospital recouperation. Serving Hands Senior Care can help with after-hospital care.
After-Hospital Care Spruce Grove
After-Hospital Care Spruce Grove

Experiencing a lengthy or even a short stay in hospital is not something that tops anyone’s priority list. Having undergone a two-week-long hospital stay myself felt like navigating a marathon. It was an emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausting experience. Throughout that time, all I could yearn for was returning home, escaping the sterile scents, the sleepless nights, and the incessant noise of call bells and monitors.

As the day of my discharge approached, excitement mingled with a nagging question: “How am I going to cope at home?” Transitioning from the 24/7 care in the hospital to, in some cases, being alone at home can be both a relief and a daunting prospect. Many seniors find themselves returning home from the hospital without a plan of action to assist them in their continued recouperation. Let’s look at some proactive strategies to alleviate the stress and overwhelm of managing the return home from a hospital stay.

1. Prepare your Home:

Ensure that your or your loved one’s home is safe and accessible by removing hazards and arranging necessary equipment. Many homes contain tripping hazards like loose rugs and clutter. Conduct a walk-through with your loved one’s cane, walker, or wheelchair to identify tight spots, tripping hazards, or inaccessible areas. For added safety, consider installing grab bars in bathrooms and handrails on stairs to assist with mobility.

2. Arrange Transportation:

When you or your loved one is discharged from the hospital, medical equipment will likely be necessary. Your loved one may require a wheelchair or walker for mobility. Determine their mobility needs and arrange suitable transportation, whether it’s a wheelchair-accessible van or a personal vehicle.

3. Understanding Discharge Instructions:

Don’t hesitate to ask questions, even if it means repeating them until you fully understand the do’s and don’ts of your recovery at home. During discussions with your healthcare providers, take notes, request written copies of discharge instructions, medications lists and care plans. Take the time to review the instructions carefully, asking yet some more questions to clarify any uncertainties about medications, follow up appointments, or postop discharge care. Keep all your documents organized and easily accessible for future reference and share them with family members or caregivers involved with your care.

4. Stock up on Supplies:

You don’t want to be left scrambling to go to the store for groceries or medical supplies. Make a list prior to discharge for the essentials needed for your loved one’s comfort and well-being. Consider purchasing convenience items such as easy-to-prepare meals or snacks to minimize the need for extensive meal preparation during the initial transition period.

5. Follow-Up Appointments:

Be sure to schedule follow-up appointments with healthcare providers as recommended before leaving the hospital, ensuring that dates and times are confirmed. Keep a record of all scheduled appointments, including the names and contact information of healthcare providers and the purpose of each appointment.
Additionally, have a plan for transportation to and from appointments, considering any mobility restrictions or assistance needed.

6. Consider bringing in outside help:

A caregiver can provide essential support during the transition home from the hospital by assisting with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation, and medication reminders. They can also offer emotional support and companionship, easing feelings of isolations and uncertainty. Additionally, caregivers can accompany you or your loved one to follow-up appointments (and in some cases drive you) and facilitate communication with healthcare providers, contributing to a smoother recovery process.

Transitioning home from hospital can feel overwhelming, especially for elderly individuals. Yet, with the right preparation and the loving support of family and caregivers, this transition can become much smoother and more manageable. By following these steps, you can ensure that your home is well-prepared, providing a comforting haven where you can rest and recuperate. After all, as John Ed Pearce beautifully expressed, “Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave and grow old wanting to get back to.”

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