The hospital can be a frightening place for seniors and their caregivers.
Whether you’re there for a scheduled surgery or an emergency situation, as a caregiver you want to ensure that your loved one gets started on the road to a quick recovery.
Planning for the right transitional care can help your loved one feel better faster and get home sooner, without the risk of ending up back in the hospital.
Here are five tips that you need to know when caring for a loved one post-hospital stay.
Unfortunately, up to a quarter of those hospitalized under Medicare are rehospitalized within 30 days of discharge. This causes families additional financial burden and emotional stress during a difficult time.
However, when you make arrangements for a care plan that can support your loved one as they recover, you reduce the risk of rehospitalization dramatically.
Social workers and discharge planners are trained to assist you as you make plans to leave the hospital and return home. They can offer suggestions based on their knowledge of your situation, and even connect you with local services that can aid your care transition. Don’t be nervous about reaching out. They’re there for a reason.
Many seniors would prefer to go straight home after they are discharged and, for caregivers who are working part- or full-time, additional hired care may be needed.
That’s where in-home care comes in. You can hire a temporary caregiver to help out from a few hours a week to 24-hours a day. They can support your loved one with activities like showering, dressing and eating. In addition, they can also provide some level of rehabilitation supervision and companionship while your loved one adjusts to being home.
In the case of surgery, like a hip or joint replacement, which may lead to temporarily reduced mobility, caregivers may require some time to get the home ready for their loved one’s return. This could mean important home modifications to improve senior safety such as adding grab bars in the bathroom and removing loose rugs and electrical wires that could lead to injury from a fall.
With a short-term stay in senior housing, your loved one can enjoy a vacation-like experience while there’s construction going on at home. And you can rest assured that your loved one is on the road to a safe recovery, receiving the best possible care from trained community staff.
When your loved one eventually makes it home from the hospital or their short-term stay in senior housing, there are a variety of senior services that can support them as they age in place.
Transportation services such as Paratransit and Lyft can provide assistance getting to medical appointments and social gatherings when the primary caregiver cannot be there.
Additionally, services such as Meals on Wheels and MagicKitchen.com offer meal preparation and delivery services for seniors who require some assistance post-hospital stay.
Are you the primary caregiver to an elderly loved one? Have you ever had to plan for transitional care between hospital and home? Please share your experiences in the comment section below to help other caregivers in a similar position.