When the elder in your life is unexpectedly admitted to the hospital, the stay in the senior ward can feel devastating – for your loved one and for you. Time is often spent in the moment, sorting through medical jargon, filling out forms, compiling paperwork, visiting with your parent or grandparent and so much more, not to mention squeezing in your everyday responsibilities. However, it’s important to make plans for what happens immediately after discharge as it can make all of the difference.
So, exactly what is discharging and why is it important? Simply put, discharging is the plan for what happens after your loved one’s release from the hospital or medical facility. For example, after the evaluation by the professional in charge, he or she may discuss short- and long-term care recommendations. This may include a plan for returning home, as well as discussions about whether or not elderly assistance is needed, or if you’re the independent caretaker, whether or not training or additional support is necessary. Of course, you might learn that a transfer to another living situation is called for – and if that’s the situation, we’ll be here by your side with recommendations based on your family’s needs. In fact, because of our strong relationships with much of the area’s medical community, there are situations where we can work in real time with members of the family and medical team so we can have the ideal living situation buttoned up and ready to go immediately upon discharge. Studies have indicated that a smooth transition from discharge to what’s next can significantly improve the results for elders as they progress to a new level of care. Like you, we want the transition to be flawless, and we’re here to provide the facts you need to have the confidence to make the the best decisions.
It can sometimes be challenging to formulate thoughts and questions as you traverse the medical process with your loved one. Here are just a few basic questions to consider asking.
What is the illness that brought my loved one here and what can we expect?
Are there any symptoms or warning signs I should be watching for?
Are medications being prescribed? If so, what are they, what are the side effects and how will we know if they’re are doing what they should?
Should these medications be taken with food? Are there any adverse effects when taken with other medications or supplements?
Can she come home? If so, will a medical professional be needed to visit regularly/periodically to care for her?
Are there resources I can use to learn more about being an independent caretaker – necessary care, red flags and support?
Will we need follow-up doctor’s appointments?
Is there a difference in care for someone with dementia?
What kind of elderly assistance is needed: toileting, general grooming, medication management, mobility, etc.
Will he need additional equipment: walker, stairlift, bath chair, grab bars, adult diapers, personal medical alarm systems, hospital bed, oxygen tank, etc.
If there are special care techniques I need to learn; where and when should I get elderly assistance training?
Will her general practitioner know what’s happened here in the facility and what comes next? Who shares this information?
What are we looking at? Is it senior long term care or perhaps short term elderly care?
If my family member is being transferred to a new type of care facility, who picks the facility and how long will he need to reside there?
Do the employees at at this new short term elderly care or senior long term care situation have experience with our culture and language?
What is the attrition rate and how many team members are on site at any given time?
Are their plentiful recreation activities and safe access to the gardens, parks and general outdoor areas?
Even if you don’t have a degree in medicine, if you’ve been the primary caretaker or consistent contact for a while now, most likely you’re an expert when it comes to your family member. Together, you and the medical professionals will make a fantastic team for what comes next. Whatever those needs are, we’re here to walk you through the process step by step.