Older adults leaving the hospital after a brief or extended stay always need to be careful in order to make returning home as safe as possible. The coronavirus pandemic has only made hospital discharges in the D.C. area even more complicated. Fortunately, you and your loved ones can use a few of our tips in order to ensure a safe hospital discharge and a quick recovery at home.
Dangers Associated with Hospital Discharges
Seniors are especially vulnerable to dangers associated with premature or poorly planned discharges. Without proper planning and support, older adults may have increased health complications while at home, such as:
- Increased risk for falling
- Higher risk of medication mismanagement
- Increased risk of pressure ulcers
- Increased risk of poor nutrition
- Decreased strength and mobility
- Increased risk of secondary illness or infection
- Increased risk of hospital readmission
You and your loved ones can actively participate in the hospital discharge planning process, which can make returning home more conducive to safety and comfort.
Ask Questions About Discharge
When you or your loved one is in the hospital, whether it is a planned visit or not, begin asking about discharge quickly. Unfortunately, patients can be discharged quickly and without advanced notice to the family. You can avoid this by communicating with your loved one’s physician and nurse to talk about discharge planning right away. It’s never too early to ask about discharge planning!
Rally Your Family
Your loved one’s family, friends, and neighbors are your first line of support during a successful discharge. However, everyone may not be able to help with tasks like meal preparation, medication set up, or personal hygiene due to their own personal schedules. That’s okay, as long as you know in advance.
When possible, begin asking family and friends if they can help with discharge tasks as soon as possible. Encourage them to be honest about their availability, and don’t pressure them to commit to helping if their schedule simply doesn’t allow it. Finally, when talking to them about their availability, come prepared with tasks that they could help with. This approach tends to be more successful as they can choose what may work best for them. Common discharge tasks can include meal preparation, wellness visits, and transportation to/from therapy or other follow-up appointments.
With COVID-19 precautions, it is not wise to have family members and friends rotating throughout your loved one’s home post-discharge. Instead, choose to work with a home care agency like CaringGivers in order to ensure proper infection control precautions.
Schedule Support Throughout the Day
If your loved one is returning home, it is crucial that you schedule support visits throughout the days and weeks following discharge. While your loved one will want to rest and recover, it is still important that someone is there to see them, check on them, and say hello at least a few times per day.
These visits from friends, family, or visiting caregivers can serve multiple purposes. For example, a CaringGivers caregiver can stop by to make a pot of delicious soup, set up medications for the next day, and to do a safety check. One visit, when planned correctly, can bring multiple support services to your loved one at home.
Enlist the Experts Right Away
Again, it’s never too early to plan for discharge. While you are in the hospital, call the team at CaringGivers. We are ready to step in to assist your family with discharge plans, scheduling our experienced caregivers to provide the support your loved one needs to recover well at home.
In our agency, we are taking coronavirus very seriously and are taking every precaution possible to ensure the safety of our clients, caregivers, and community. We are working hand-in-hand with local hospitals to make safe discharge plans that will decrease the risk of exposure to the coronavirus.
Discharge from the hospital is an exciting time, but it can also feel overwhelming, confusing, and even dangerous. Choose to work with the team at CaringGivers in order to give your loved one all the support they need to recover at home safely. Call us today to talk more about your situation. We would be honored to work with your family and develop a personalized plan just for your loved one.