Making the change from hospital to home for many seniors is often one of the most difficult aspects of the transition of care.
In fact, one in five Medicare patients end up returning to the hospital within 30 days due to unforeseen challenges they face when returning home.
Unfortunately, many loved ones aren’t aware that when their senior leaves the hospital, it’s not just continuing health and mobility issues that are at play – there is often the dilemma of getting dialed in to the proper resources.
According to rightathome.com the overall structure within the healthcare system lacks the transitional help that many seniors need for a smooth transition home.
Many older loved ones suffering from a chronic illness, receive care from multiple providers and when going from hospital to home may encounter one or more of the following issues as a result:
- fragmented communication between the primary care physician and other medical providers lack of understanding about whether the loved one will require in home care services or personalized elder care
- medication and dosage errors
- duplicate prescriptions
- inadequate follow up with healthcare providers
In other cases, families experience health-related concerns like mobility problems leading to injury, disorientation and falls, mishandling of medications or relapses in condition due to fatigue.
The good news is that many of these situations can be prevented in order to help your senior transition more easily.
Here are a few things Freedom Home Care recommends before leaving the hospital.
- Talk to a discharge planner or person that will help your family with the move from the hospital to home
- Know exactly what your senior will need at home and where to purchase those items
- Find out if essential equipment is covered by insurance
- Speak with nurses and other staff members about how to shower or toilet, administer creams or gels, and change bandages or personal hygiene items.
- Know what foods can be eaten and if a special diet is required
- Understand how and when to take prescription medication, if it’s covered by insurance, how long they should be taken and if they have any side effects
Plan for post-hospital care by finding out:
- What the biggest risk factors are once at home
- How your loved one can avoid these risks
- What type of follow-up care to expect
- Who will be monitoring your senior while at home
- If other family members will also be involved in the loved one’s care
- Checking the home to avoid safety hazards or risks
- How to have meals delivered, if necessary
- If cleaning services will be needed
- Additional resources about your senior’s condition – information, groups or online communities
Remember, you can help make your loved one’s transition from hospital to home a smooth one by staying proactive and planning ahead.