Seniors are most vulnerable during the transition from hospital to home after surgery or illness. In fact, 83 percent of older adults had problems during the first two days following hospital discharge, according to one study. This is also a very stressful time for caregivers in Douglas County. The good news is there are several steps you can take to reduce the stress and challenges of bringing a loved one home from the hospital.
Plan Ahead for the Transition
Caregivers can increase the chances of a successful transition home after a hospital stay by planning ahead as much as possible. You may want to make arrangements for any equipment you will need such as assistive devices, disposable items, and oxygen supplies. Make any adjustments necessary to rooms in which these tools will be used. Many hospitals offer discharge planning resources to help caregivers and family members prepare as best as possible.
Manage New Medication
Most seniors who are discharged from the hospital will have a new medication routine. This means there is a greater likelihood of medication errors. Incorrect dosages, missing dosages, and mixing medications are common pitfalls that occur after a patient leaves a hospital. Discuss any changes in medication with your loved one’s physician and the pharmacist. Dispose of any old medication, and make sure you understand which medications will interact poorly with one another.
Eliminate Trip Hazards
According to Douglas County home care agencies, every year, one out of every three seniors experiences a fall, and more than 1.6 million seniors are treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries. Seniors are especially vulnerable to falls after returning home from a hospital as they may be recovering from surgery or illness that has left them weak or with stability issues. Make your home as safe as possible by removing trip hazards like raised carpet edges, plants, tables, electrical cords, and furniture that blocks a clear walking path. Add nonslip mats to the shower and bathtub as well as grab bars.
Watch for Warning Signs
Many seniors experience problems after being discharged from a hospital. While every situation is unique, watch for signs your loved one is developing complications. This may include changes in balance or coordination, new skin problems, dizziness, diarrhea, fever, nausea, changes in behavior, or complaints of pain.
Ensure your senior loved one has the support needed to recover safely in the comfort of home with help from Home Care Assistance. We provide hourly, respite, and live-in home care in Douglas County, and our caregivers can be present at the hospital before discharge to take notes, review post-hospital care instructions, or offer emotional support to your loved one. To learn more, give us a call today at 720-287-1685 and request a complimentary in-home consultation.