Each year, millions of older Americans are admitted to hospitals for reasons ranging from injurious falls to strokes and pneumonia. Once that hospital stay is over, those seniors and their families face the difficult task of recovering at home. As a family caregiver, keeping your loved one safe and comfortable during the recovery process can be overwhelming at times. Here are tips to reduce readmission of your senior to the hospital:
Top Causes of Hospital Admissions
In an average year, over 800,000 seniors in the U.S. are hospitalized after falling. Many undergo extended hospital stays due to hip fractures, broken bones, and head trauma. Sadly, some lose their independence permanently as a result.
According to AARP, these are other common reasons for hospital admissions in the elderly:
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Congestive heart failure
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Coronary atherosclerosis
- Medication problems
Transitional Care Tips for Seniors
Whether it’s recovering after an operation, surgery, or a hospital stay, returning home can be an emotionally trying time for everyone involved.
Here’s how to ensure that your recovering loved one gets the transitional care they deserve:
Patiently offer love and support
Adjustments that accompany a recovery can be notably hard for seniors. As a family caregiver, go in with an open mind, patiently communicate and listen, and remain as empathetic as possible. Although your loved one might be angry, frustrated, depressed, or anxious, don’t allow those negative emotions to keep you from giving them the love and support they need.
Be their care advocate
For at least the first few weeks, you may be asked to help coordinate tasks like home health care visits, doctor’s appointments, therapy sessions, and medication refills. Based on your loved one’s ability to perform activities of daily living (ADLs), you might need to assist them with bathing, housekeeping, laundry, food shopping, cooking meals, and other responsibilities.
As your loved one’s advocate, it’s also imperative that you offer them constant encouragement and emotional support.
Form a caregiving team
Although the period after a hospital stay can feel like a whirlwind, allow plenty of time to consult with your senior’s doctors, surgeons, and other healthcare specialists. Numerous post-hospitalization tasks may need to be managed, like housekeeping, meals, rehab appointments, medication reminders, etc. Develop a schedule based on those needs, and don’t be afraid to involve other trusted family members and friends in the process.
Complete any home modifications
After a hospital stay, your loved one may have difficulty getting around, or they could be experiencing pain, medication side effects, or noticeable changes to their hearing or eyesight. At that point, falling becomes a real possibility. Create a safer home environment by moving furniture out of walking paths, adding more lighting, and installing grab bars in the bathroom.
If they will be required to use a wheelchair or walker for a while, install wheelchair ramps at the front and back entrances. Also, be sure the pantry and fridge are well stocked and that all your loved one’s health needs are on hand, including hearing aids, vision aids, and medications.
Don’t go it alone
Although it’s highly gratifying, serving as a primary caregiver during a loved one’s recovery can also be physically and emotionally draining. Avoid caregiver burnout by enlisting an extra pair of hands from sources like:
- Family members, neighbors, and friends
- Community volunteers that work with the aging
- A meal delivery service
- A professional in-home respite caregiver
Award-Winning Respite Care for Families in Long Beach, CA
Helping an aging loved one transition from hospital to home can sometimes be overwhelming. As a locally owned and family-operated provider, Colonial Home Care Services makes it easy for families to keep their aging loved ones safe— even with little notice in an emergency. At CHCS, we take great pride in carefully selecting and thoroughly screening our caregivers to ensure all have the right skills, knowledge, experience, and personality.
As a family-trusted home care provider serving Orange County, Long Beach, Mission Viejo, and surrounding communities, CHCS has provided peace of mind to those we serve for over 25 years. To learn more now about our award-winning home care services or schedule a FREE in-home assessment for a senior in our service area, please visit us at www.colonialhomecareservices.com.