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Your Loved One Is In The Hospital, What Now?

Whether your loved one is experiencing a planned and scheduled hospital visit or they are having an unexpected stay, there are a number of ways that you can support your loved one in the hospital. 

When a loved one is hospitalized it can be stressful, but there are plenty of ways that you can support and care for them while not overwhelming yourself. Remember to take care of yourself during this time. The better care you provide for yourself the more likely you are to take better care of your loved one.

Listed below are a few suggestions to alleviate some of the concern and anxiety that are familiar to us when we’re going through a loved one’s time in the hospital. With these tips, you’ll feel prepared to help with your senior’s needs and can give you a little more peace of mind.

Make friends with the nurses

Take the time to make friends with the nursing staff. Nurses are on the ground floor, far more immediately accessible than the doctors, and have access to all of your loved one’s medical information. Nurses can also advocate for your loved one to make sure their needs are being met. 

Remember to greet any of the people who come into your loved one’s room, including environmental staffers. Learn as many staff members’ names as you can and greet them accordingly. 

If you notice that there’s a staff member who has gone above and beyond for your loved one, consider getting them a small token, such as a Starbucks gift card to thank them and giving positive feedback to their supervisor. If your loved one has a return visit, the staff will be more likely to remember your thoughtfulness and give that same personal attention.

Gather All Important Documents that the Hospital May Need

Maintaining a list of medications, pharmacies, medical directives, doctors, and surgeries is a good idea for anyone. When you have a loved one that is aging or their health is starting to become a challenge, it’s especially important to keep a document that has a list of all of this information. 

Remember to include contact information for all of the doctors that your loved one currently sees. Don’t forget to include any vitamins and supplements or over the counter medications they take as well. 

Having a consistently updated sheet with all of the pertinent information at the ready for hospital stays will make information sharing and gathering much easier.

Visit Your Loved One In The Hospital

It may go without saying, but visiting as much as life will allow is very important. Regular visits are about more than just keeping up spirits in the hospital.

It can be a bit lonely and overwhelming to spend time in the hospital. Your loved one is in an unfamiliar environment and their normal routine will have changed substantially. Having a familiar face to check on them helps with feeling connected to their usual world. 

Making regular visits to your loved one in the hospital also helps you understand their care. Being present in whatever capacity you can manage means that you know which doctors are checking in and that your loved one is getting the care that they need.

This presence means that as levels of care or medications change, you’ll be able to help your loved one with a second set of eyes and ears to take in information and make sure that their care stays on track.

Sometimes schedules and distance won’t allow you to visit as often as you might wish. Having a relative, friend, or neighbor stop by to visit your loved one in the hospital is also a good way to check in and keep spirits raised, even when you can’t physically be there yourself. 

Talk to the doctor about next steps

Talk to your loved one’s medical team about the best course of action for helping your loved one back to wellness. Having a discharge plan that you’ve coordinated with your loved one’s doctors can take some of the stress out of trying to figure out next steps. Below are some things to think about and places to start in outlining your loved one’s next steps.

Establishing a Discharge Plan

  1. Understand what resources are available to you after discharge from the hospital. This could include:
    • In-home care services
    • Physical rehabilitation
    • Physical therapy
    • Assisted living
  2. Discuss and create a discharge plan.
  3. Establish a point of contact after the discharge. This could be one or all of the following people:
    • Aging life care manager
    • Physician
    • Social Worker

Caring For Them After Discharge from the Hospital

Before your loved one is discharged you’ll want to evaluate the ability to care for them at home.

Many times after a loved one is released from a hospital they need additional care that would be better performed by trained medical professionals or specialized rehabilitative care staff. Below are some aspects to consider before bringing your loved one home:

  • Can I take care of them at home?
  • Will we have the resources needed to safely care for them?
  • Will their medical recovery be as effective at home?
  • How many people will reliably participate in caretaking?
  • Does caring for a senior loved one at home mean I’ll have to pause my career or give up other responsibilities? 
  • What are the pros and cons of taking care of a loved one at home?

If your loved one has recently had a hospitalization, or is looking at a potential hospital stay, consider the caring and warm medical professionals at The Kensington Reston. 

We have trained and licensed medical professionals on site. Depending on the level of care that your loved one needs, we have medical services available to ensure that your loved one receives the most comprehensive care possible to get them through their recovery.

Reach out to us today to learn more about how we may be able to help with the care of your loved one after a hospital stay.

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