When a senior loved one is admitted to a hospital after an unexpected illness or injury, their families often feel overwhelmed, confused and uncertain how to proceed. Proper planning and communication with the medical team can make all the difference in how smoothly the transition home goes, and the senior’s recovery. Understanding the basic discharge planning process can make this step less intimidating and more successful.
Discharge planning is a process, defined by Medicare, to determine what a patient needs to smoothly and successfully transition from the hospital back to their home or to another level of care, such as a rehabilitation facility.
The exact process of discharge planning varies from one hospital to the next, but it generally includes the same key features:
- Evaluation of the patient’s needs
- Discussion with the patient or representative
- Determination of any additional support or caregiver training that may be needed
- Referral to supportive services, such as home care
- Arrangements for follow-up appointments
- Planning transportation or other specific steps to get the person home, or to the next facility
Patient, Family and Caregiver Discussion
It’s important to be fully present and attentive during the discussion portion of the planning process. This is easier said than done! The entire hospitalization can be stressful, confusing and overwhelming. It may be hard to imagine what life really will be like upon returning home.
Remember to take your time, take notes, and ask lots of questions. Do your best to communicate your situation as fully as possible during this process. Resist any temptation to overestimate what you can do for your loved one. Only then can the medical team accommodate your actual needs, and set you and your loved one up for the best chance of success.
The discussion will include your loved one’s physical needs, both what they were prior to the hospitalization, and what they are likely to be afterward. Your loved one may need physical therapy or new equipment such as a wheelchair or bedside commode. They may need oxygen or other medical treatments. A good discharge planning discussion will include consideration for who will take care of these needs, but also who will be handling other daily needs, such as transportation, cooking and daily chores.
Family caregivers can easily become overwhelmed and exhausted — both mentally and physically — when they try to handle all the daily needs of the household, their loved one and themselves.
Often, family caregivers are urged to hire assistance so that they don’t become overwhelmed. Overwhelm can lead to a number of poor outcomes, including:
- Trouble with the caregiver’s own health
- Relationship difficulties
- Less than ideal recovery
- Physical complications
- Challenges with the patient’s or caregiver’s mental or emotional health
Home care services are a popular choice for support because they offer an array of services customized to each individual families’ needs and preferences. Home care aides can come on a customized schedule and perform tasks including:
- Laundry, dishes or light housework
- Meal preparation
- Shopping or errands
- Personal care, such as bathing, dressing and assisting with using the toilet
- Mobility assistance, such as using a wheelchair, walker or safely moving from one chair to another
These types of services help family caregivers conserve energy and can assist the senior to experience a smooth and successful recovery in the comfort of their own home.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Home Health Care in Daleville, AL, please contact the caring staff at Wiregrass HomeCare today. Call us at 334-539-5900.
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