How to Deal with the Hospitalization of a Senior Loved One

It can be a difficult time for the family when an aging parent is sick.  When they must go to the hospital because of that illness, it can feel even more ominous.  Here are a few tips to help you deal with the emotions and decisions that must be made when your loved one goes to the hospital.

Help the Senior Pack for the Stay

Assist your loved one with packing items for their hospital visit.  Make sure they pack comfortable nightwear and clothing for their trip home.  They should also have personal items they will need such as a toothbrush, comb, and deodorant.  Help them label everything so that nothing gets lost in the hospital.

Keep a list of medications that include any items from over the counter such as vitamins or pain pills.  Help your senior parent or family member remember their previous illnesses, surgeries, and any allergies they may have.  You will be asked these questions at admission.

Make sure you keep a copy of all of this information to have on hand any time there are hospital visits.  Also have a copy of their insurance card with you.  Provide a list of emergency contact information for close family.

Do not take jewellery or credit cards to the hospital.  You do not want the added worry of looking for valuable or sentimental items that have gotten lost during their hospital stay.

During the Stay

Make sure you know what the senior’s health insurance covers for their stay.  This will make the financial situation easier to deal with later on.  Your loved one may also be seen by a social worker who will ask questions about their living situation and any needs they may have.  An assessment is made to determine what services or help the senior may need upon release from the hospital.  The social worker may make recommendations for homecare services to assist with recovery or provide other resources that you may not be aware of.

Safety in the Hospital

Help your senior loved one to be safe during their hospital stay.  Even though the hospital is a safe environment where people are cared for, it can be a disorienting place for older people.  Here are a few suggestions on safety measurements seniors should take during their hospital stay.

  • Use the call button for help even if you have been independent.
  • Use the controls to lower the bed before getting out or back into bed to prevent falling.
  • Hold onto secure things to prevent falling over wires  or cords that may be around the bed.
  • Keep items that are often used within reach.
  • Make sure to take only medications given by the hospital staff.
  • Use handrails and other supports when getting up and around.

You may have questions about your loved one’s care or health.  Find out when the doctor will be in to see the patient and attempt to be there during this time to get the answers to your questions.  Ask the doctor things like:

  1. What are these tests for and when will you have the results?
  2. When will the patient be able to go home?
  3. What kind of care will they need at home?

Getting the answers to your questions can help you feel more prepared to deal with issues and to feel less overwhelmed by the situation.

Planning for Discharge

Discuss the plans for leaving the hospital with your loved one.  Will they need to stay with you or someone else while they recover?  Will they need additional help caring for themselves or their home?  Talk about the possibility of homecare services to help them after they leave the hospital.  While you want them to be involved in the decision, help them to be practical if they will need more care than in the past.  Seniors are often resistant to having assistance from outside source rather than their family members.  It is important to talk to them about homecare services and how they can assist after a hospital stay.

Prepare yourself for the added work and worry when your family member comes home from the hospital.  Be willing to ask for help with the care of your loved one to make things easier for both of you.

Contact us for more information on how Carefect Home Care Services can help you and you or your loved one during and after hospitalization.