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care after hospital discharge

Deciding a Discharge Care Plan After Hospitalization

When older adults are hospitalized, caregivers will often help them decide on a discharge care plan. 

Receiving the proper follow-up care after a hospital stay will be essential to your loved one’s recovery and will reduce their chances of being readmitted. 

Depending on your loved one’s reason for being hospitalized, their recovery and discharge care plan may vary. 

For minor injuries, surgeries, or an illness, your loved one may be able to receive adequate care at home. However, they may need full-term care and support for more severe injuries or illnesses. 

Learn more about hospital discharge, the role of a caregiver in the discharge process, planning care before going to the hospital, ongoing care after leaving the hospital, and where to find a supportive community to help your loved one recover safely and comfortably.

What is hospital discharge?

When your loved one no longer needs inpatient care, they can leave the hospital. 

It can be uncomfortable and unsafe for older adults to stay in the hospital longer than needed. The longer they are in the hospital, the higher their risk of being exposed to infections. 

If your loved one is getting better and a high level of medical attention is unnecessary, they will be discharged. 

To reduce the chances of being readmitted, the hospital will run tests and take assessments to ensure your loved one will be safe when they leave. 

Before your loved one is discharged, healthcare providers will ensure that arrangements have been made for them to continue receiving care. 

If your senior loved one’s needs are too much for you to take on alone, you might consider transitioning them to an enhanced assisted living community where they can receive around-the-clock personal care.

Role of the caregiver in the discharge process

Family caregivers will help their loved ones make important decisions regarding their health and care. 

Before your loved one is discharged, healthcare providers will explain their illness or injury to you and what type of treatment, support, and services they will need during their recovery. 

If you’re the one who will be taking care of your loved one, you may need to learn how to treat their wounds, wrap bandages, medication management, and use certain types of medical equipment. 

Caregivers have the right to obtain their loved one’s medical information, help them with decision-making, and find the support and services they need to improve their health and wellness.

If your loved one is going home after they are discharged, it will also be up to you to ensure their home is safe and comfortable.

Planning care before going to the hospital 

Sometimes accidents happen, and there is no time to arrange care before going to the hospital. 

However, if your loved one is being admitted to the hospital for surgery and their visit was scheduled, there are things you can do to make their visit go more smoothly. 

Before going to the hospital, it can save you a lot of time and stress if you have your loved one’s paperwork in order and know where you’re going.

You may also have a lot of questions regarding your loved one’s visit. Making a list of these and asking ahead of time can prepare you and your loved one for what is to come, ease your mind, and reduce feelings of uncertainty. 

Once you know where your loved one is going and what will happen during their visit, you can pack them a bag of things to help them feel comfortable, such as a robe, slippers, toiletries, a photograph, or special momentum. 

Ongoing care after leaving the hospital 

Older adults may be nervous when they’re discharged because they will be leaving the nurses and doctors who were keeping them safe. 

The best way to make your loved one feel safe and confident when leaving the hospital is to ensure their care plan and arrangements are made ahead of time. 

If you are your loved one’s caregiver, you can help them feel better by reminding them that you will be there for them and that they will not be alone during their recovery. 

If your loved one requires more care than you can offer, or it is unsafe for them to go home, they can transition to a senior living community. 

Our team provides clinical support, around-the-clock care, and rehabilitation services at The Kensington Reston. 

Often, older adults will need rehab to improve their health, speed up their recovery process, and get back to their regular routine. 

To ease your and your loved one’s mind, we maintain a safe community,  provide acuity care, and give our residents individualized care plans, so their treatment and services are specific to their needs.

Discharge to home or a community: Finding the help you need

If you have the means and time to care for your loved one after they have been hospitalized, you may not need much help or support. 

However, if you are limited in what you can do, or your loved ones care needs are too extensive additional assistance may be required.

In-home care 

As a caregiver, your job will include helping your loved one improve their health and ensuring their own home environment is safe to prevent falls and injuries. 

Some modifications you may want to consider making include:

  • Reducing the clutter in their home
  • Removing loose rugs to avoid falls
  • Gathering any loose electrical cords as much as possible
  • Adding handrails and grab bars
  • Purchasing shower seats and raised toilet seats
  • Adding nightlights where necessary 

Caregivers may also need to take their loved ones to follow up appointments for checkups and therapy. 

While your loved one needs to relax during recovery, their health and wellness will also depend on staying active. 

Your loved one can remain active and physically fit by taking short walks or doing yoga. If your loved one cannot stand long, they can still engage in sit-to-stand and chair exercises. 

Community care

For seniors who cannot complete daily tasks alone and require a high level of care, and medical equipment, they will benefit from transitioning to an assisted living or memory care community. 

At a senior living community, your loved one can receive on-site services, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, medication administration and injections, memory care services, and pain management. 

Enhanced senior living communities offer a level of care that seniors cannot receive at home, even with the help of the most compassionate and supportive caregivers.

Ensure a successful transition to a care facility by involving your loved one in the conversation and not waiting until their condition or recovery worsens. 

High-acuity care and rehabilitation services

The Kensington Reston is an assisted living and memory care community that offers a full spectrum of clinical care.

Our Promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own by providing our residents with high-acuity care, compassion, patience, and respect. 

We can offer short-term or long-term services and support to your loved one. 

During their stay, your loved one may even decide they want to remain in our community, as it is the perfect place to age in place. 

Your loved one will enjoy our: 

Contact us or check out our blog to learn more about our cozy and safe communities, amenities and services, caregiver resources, and upcoming events.

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