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How to Admit Your Senior Loved One to the Hospital

How to Admit Your Senior Loved One to the Hospital

A senior can suffer a stroke, complications from an illness, such as the flu, or experience a heart attack. All of these scenarios require immediate medical attention. Families are often unprepared for emergency situations, making it difficult to make rational choices.

How to Admit Your Senior Loved One to the Hospital

It’s important to know the three types of hospital admissions:

1) an emergency admission,

2) a physician-directed admission based on a medical visit or

3) admission for a planned procedure. Families and caregivers can take the following steps to prepare for an unexpected health crisis.

Falls and illness can send an elderly loved one to the hospital. Emergency care is oftentimes the first and only option since appointments with a physician may be difficult to obtain on short notice. Admitting a senior to the hospital can be chaotic. Here are ways to ease the process.

1. Prepare an updated list of medications

Caregivers should always keep an updated list of the senior’s current medications and any illnesses. Doctors need to know this critical information in order to prescribe correct treatments and medications. Show this information to each hospital doctor and nurse who tends to the senior.

2. Bring important documents to the hospital

Certain documents are necessary when being admitted to the hospital. A senior should bring ID, such as a driver’s license, as well as test results that have been done six weeks or less prior to the hospitalization. Also, bring an advance directive and names of appointed healthcare decision-makers.

3. Communicate with hospital staff

Communicate with hospital staff

Identify the primary hospital doctor treating the elderly loved one, as the physician is responsible for coordinating the senior’s care and directing the staff members providing it. Meet with the doctor to ask questions. Follow up on any concerns with the nurses who oversee the senior’s day-to-day care.

Advocating for the hospitalized senior is important, as pain, medications, or a loss of consciousness can prevent them from doing so themselves. Interact regularly with the care team and attend care meetings to ensure the loved one receives the high-quality care they deserve.

4. Ask to stay with the elderly patient

A senior should have a family member, caregiver, or friend by their side during their stay in the hospital. Older adults, especially those with dementia, can become confused or agitated when in an unfamiliar environment. The reassurance a companion provides is invaluable.

Having a familiar face in the hospital room can prevent delirium and keep the senior safe. The companion is also helpful in communicating the elderly patient’s wishes to the doctor and nurses. A trusted caregiver ensures the senior’s basic needs, such as food and bathroom use, are met.

5. Determine how to pay for care

Hospitalization can be a costly event. Families and caregivers should find out if the senior is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or pays for private insurance. The hospital social worker can help families understand what insurance the senior has and how much it will cover.

6. Learn about post-hospitalization needs

Learn about post-hospitalization needs

While in the hospital, caregivers should learn about what forms of treatment the elderly patient will need to prevent rehospitalization. New prescription medications may be prescribed; occupational or physical therapy may be advised; or durable medical equipment may become necessary.

Communicate with the senior’s medical care team throughout the hospital stay and obtain updates about the prognosis. Understanding the senior’s expected recovery time and expected future condition can prevent unpleasant financial or logistical surprises in the moments before and after discharge.

7. Decide where the senior will stay after discharge

The level of care an elderly loved one will need upon discharge can influence where the senior will stay. In ideal situations, the senior will return home and resume the typical lifestyle. However, in some cases, the senior may need to enter a rehabilitation facility to regain certain functions.

Being admitted to a rehab facility may be for the short term. Or, if it is no longer safe for the senior to remain alone at home, alternative forms of care must be arranged. Moving to an assisted living facility or hiring a home care agency are two options.

8. Schedule an appointment with the primary care doctor

If the senior had emergency care at the hospital, the primary care doctor should know about the visit. Bring the paperwork from the emergency room visit as well as new medications to the appointment. The primary care doctor will check all medications and support the senior in recovery.

9. Obtain caregiver support

Obtain caregiver support

A senior loved one’s hospitalization can be life-changing. If the elderly individual comes to live with family after the event, caregivers can feel overwhelmed. Online and in-person caregiver support groups can offer emotional support and practical advice. Obtain help from the local Area Agency on Aging.

Another resource family caregivers can rely on when seniors are discharged from the hospital is after-surgery care from Assisting Hands Home Care. Our professional caregivers are experts in supporting seniors after a hospital stay, ensuring they are on the road to recovery.

Post-surgical care from our home care agency is invaluable in helping seniors avoid setbacks in their health. We support seniors at home so that they are able to rest and recover. Our professional caregivers assist care recipients with all the activities of daily living.

Caregiver responsibilities include providing timely medication reminders, non-emergency transportation to doctors’ offices or physical therapy, picking up prescriptions, shopping for groceries, preparing nutritious meals and light housekeeping. Our nonmedical care services ensure seniors’ daily needs are met, which helps facilitate recovery.

Assisting Hands Home Care allows older adults who have just been discharged from the hospital to continue living in the comfort and familiarity of home. Your elderly loved one can focus on regaining health and strength when our caregivers tend to their basic needs at home.

Plan ahead and consult Assisting Hands Home Care when your senior loved one is expected to be admitted to the hospital. Our post-surgical care provides immense value to not only the elderly but families, too. Call today to schedule an in-home consult at (888) 559-3889.