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Returning Home After Discharge 

By Ben Cornu

After leaving the hospital, you may think that the worst is behind you. However, the transition from hospital to home can be a critical time for seniors and their health. Seniors may experience complications from their recent hospital stay, resulting in another hospital admission. In fact, 28% of patients discharged from the hospital are readmitted within just 30 days. 

However, having a caregiver throughout the transition process and into a senior’s recovery can greatly improve their overall health and outcome — especially in high-risk discharges from the hospital. Because of COVID-19, many hospitals and facilities are discharging seniors early, which can be detrimental to their recovery. In this post, we will explore how a caregiver can help a senior after they are discharged from the hospital to help increase chances for a successful recovery. 

 

Prepare the Home Environment for the Client 

When a senior goes to the hospital, the last thing on their minds is the sink of dirty dishes or the laundry they left in the dryer. Homecare after hospital discharge can help prepare the home for the arrival of a senior. They can help with dishes, laundry, and light housekeeping. A caregiver can also help identify any potential hazards that may cause the senior to fall. By getting the house in order before a senior returns, a caregiver makes the transition smoother and alleviate responsibilities that a senior’s family may face. 

 

Be Involved in Discharge Planning 

During the hospital discharge procedure, there is a period of discharge planning, which includes coordination between the hospital, a senior, their family, and a senior’s care team. Best r=practice for discharge planning includes involving a caregiver.  

 

Caregivers can be advocates for their clients. Because caregivers often spend the most time with the senior, they know their client’s routine better than most. They should also be aware of preferences the senior may have. These insights can be helpful when trying to plan a smooth transition to home care. Caregivers can also ask questions during this planning period to make sure that post-discharge instruction is clear. Effective discharge planning from hospital to home can help reduce potential complications. 

 

Provide Personal Care 

After a senior arrives at home, they will most likely need help with personal care tasks, like bathing, eating, brushing their teeth, toileting, etc. Of course, the extent of personal care depends on the senior’s abilities after being discharged from the hospital. Caregivers can also help seniors follow specific instructions from their care team after discharge from the hospital. For example, maybe they need to avoid getting an incision wet. This care can help a senior feel more comfortable and can also maintain hygiene. 

 

Cook Meals 

Caregivers can provide meals for their clients. After getting home from a hospital stay, a senior may not have the energy or capacity to cook for themselves. A caregiver can step in an assist with this task. Additionally, caregivers can go shopping for their clients — or with their clients if they are feeling up to the task.  

 

As caregivers cook, they can also take implement any nutritional guidelines given by a senior’s care team. Often, seniors with chronic conditions have specific dietary restrictions to help them maintain their health. Caregivers can prepare meals that are nutritious, delicious, and within a client’s nutrition recommendations.  

 

Assist with Physical Therapy 

Seniors being released from the hospital or from a rehabilitation facility may have prescribed exercises to help them rebuild their muscles, maintain balance, or regain range of motion. Seniors may be reluctant to do their exercises — especially if they are in a lot of pain or lack energy. However, physical therapy is a key component to their recovery. Caregivers can help with these physical therapy exercises.  

 

Not only can caregivers provide transportation to and from physical therapy appointments, but they can help their client perform the exercises. Caregivers can provide encouragement and motivation along with a sturdy hand to help seniors adhere to their physical therapy schedule. They can also observe exercises to make sure that a senior is performing them correctly for maximum effectiveness. Caregivers can also help physical therapists understand how a senior is feeling and provide valuable insight to a physical therapist to help evaluate the treatment plan.  

 

Keep Track of Medication Schedule 

Seniors may be prescribed a number of different medications after their time at the hospital, and these medicines can have different schedules that can be difficult to keep up with. Caregivers can provide medication reminders to help seniors stay on schedule with their medications and avoid overdosing, taking the wrong medication, or skipping medications altogether.  

 

Provide Companionship 

Recovery can be a long and lonely process. If a senior isn’t able to leave their home or gather with others, it can be hard for them to remain engaged socially. Seniors may feel isolated and even depressed, which can prolong their recovery. Caregivers can provide emotional support and companionship to help engage seniors. They can listen and be empathetic to a senior’s situation. They can also help pass the time. Whether it’s through a book, a movie, or a life story, caregivers can plan meaningful activities that their clients can do during their time at home that stimulate the brain and engage seniors in social interactions.  

  

With seniors at a high risk of hospital readmission, quality home care service is a great way to reduce the risk to keep seniors healthy, happy, and at home. At Caring Senior Service, we offer home care services to seniors to ensure a smooth transition from hospital to home. Our caregivers are specially trained to assist during this transition, which can often be stressful and full of unknowns for seniors and their families. Learn more about the services we offer and reach out to us today to discover how we can help your loved one return from the hospital safely.  

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Tags: Caregivers

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