Hospitals are releasing patients as soon as they can because of insurance or other reasons. While elderly patients might meet the criteria for discharge, they might not be physically or mentally ready to go home when they’re told it’s time.
Out of worry and concern for a loved one, many families find themselves darting around at the last minute to find after-care and rehabilitation resources to ensure that a patient doesn’t have a setback.
Getting the right care after hospitalization can aid an elderly person in their recovery and help make them stronger and healthier.
Making a Smooth Transition from the Hospital to Home
Under the best of circumstances, elderly people are vulnerable. After a hospitalization, elderly people have many old and new health matters to contend with like:
- Reduced mobility
- Risk of falling
- Risk of infection
- Medication mix-ups
- Side effects from medications
- Complications from surgery or other treatments
In addition to these health risks, elderly people need to get back into a routine of healthy eating and exercise. That doesn’t usually happen right away, but it’s always a goal.
Seniors need a special diet after being charged from the hospital.
It’s important to help an elderly person’s bodily systems get working again and the right diet helps seniors with digestion and blood circulation.
There are over 2 million Medicare recipients in the U.S. In fact, the New England Journal of Medicine reports that 20% of people that get discharged from a hospital get readmitted sometime later. Many of them get worse before they’re readmitted.
Here are some tips for things you should consider as part of hospital discharge planning for elderly people.
- Type of equipment needed—canes, wheelchairs, oxygen tanks, etc.
- Setting up the home—removing rugs, adding grab bars, rearranging furniture, etc.
- Bringing in a hospital bed
- Arranging for visits from a nurse, OT, PT, or other home care services
- Arranging transportation to medical appointments
Types of Help an Elderly Person Needs After Hospitalization
The hospital may be able to help you set up some of the after-care needs for discharge planning but be aware they may not be able to arrange for all the services you need. Home care services can fill the gap in services that you need after hospitalization, and longer if necessary.
Here are some of the needs that elderly people commonly need after surgery or hospitalization:
- Help with safe transfer and mobility
- Medication reminders
- Meal preparation
- Transportation to medical appointments
- Taking detailed notes for family
- Bathing and personal hygiene
At the time of admission, the hospital may discuss discharge planning. If they don’t, it will be up to the elderly person or their family to make sure everything is in place for continuing care.
At the end of a hospital stay, it will ease your stress if you have a detailed plan for how to manage things when it’s time to bring an elderly patient home. A smooth transition to the home environment will facilitate recovery, prevent infections and illnesses, and give everyone involved the confidence to move forward safely.
Most importantly, by enlisting the help of a home caregiver, you may very well prevent an elderly person from having a setback that takes them back to the hospital.