Bringing a caregiver into the home can be a necessity at various times in one’s life. And a typical time of need is the period following a hospital stay. So to make the transition from hospital to home a smooth one, Medicare can be a great resource.
Medicare understands that a lot of instruction is relayed in the discharge process, and often times, it can literally be too many pills for one person to swallow. The explanations surrounding new medications or treatments can be lost in translation, leaving an individual confused and scared. Therefore, the tips and links provided below should help when it comes to making heads or tails of all that information.
1. Make a plan. Prepare for discharge days or weeks in advance, even upon admission if possible. Visit Ask Medicare at www.medicare.gov/caregivers, and go to “Caregiver Topics,” and “Support for Caregivers” to access the “Managing a Hospital-to-Home Transition” video, which includes a checklist of tips for making the process easier. You can also download a discharge-planning checklist.
2. Ask questions and take notes. Be sure you know why old medicines have been stopped, what new medicines are for, and if you need to watch for any reactions or side effects. Keep track of who you talk to.
3. Prepare to meet new needs. Work with the hospital discharge team to get comfortable with any new help the patient will need (i.e., taking medicines, using medical equipment, changing bandages, or giving shots).
4. Get the patient’s home ready. Plan ahead for additions or adaptations that will be needed, such as a hospital bed, a walker or wheelchair, a ramp in place of the stairs, or a shower stool in the bathroom. Remove items that may cause falls, such as area rugs and cords, and reduce excess clutter to allow for easy passagefrom room to room.
5. Plan for additional expenses. Visit the Ask Medicare Web site at www.medicare.gov/caregivers and click on “Caregiver Topics,” “Paying for Care,” and “Which expenses are covered” for a helpful planning tool.
6. Make a list of key contacts. These include doctors, pharmacists, representatives from a home care agency, and others who may need to be consulted. Get business cards, if possible.
And don't hesitate to reach out to the team here at Freedom Home Care. We'd be happy to help you usher in new and healthy routines to get you settled back into your home.