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A trip to the hospital can be an intimidating event for patients and their families. If you are a caregiver, it’s necessary to start planning for what happens next. A discharge plan is how you decide what a patient needs to make the transition from one type of care level to another as stable as possible.
Careful hospital discharge planning can decrease the chances that your loved one will be readmitted to the hospital. It can also help them recover, make sure they take their medications at the proper times and prepare you and your family for taking over their care. Here are five aspects to consider when making a hospital discharge plan.
The planning must consider the recommendations made by a qualified healthcare professional after they evaluate the patient. Talk to the doctor about the physical condition of your family member so that you can better understand any new needs they may have. However, the hospital staff responsible for discharging your loved one will not be familiar with every part of your situation, which is where the next step – discussion – becomes so necessary.
Even though the doctor makes the diagnosis, you are the expert; sitting down with the professionals should be a discussion. You know much more about the patient’s history and your abilities to provide care than the healthcare worker. When coming up with a discharge plan, you must ask about the details of the care needed and what facility and expertise will work best. Armed with this information, you can then talk to your loved one and decide what’s ideal for their needs.
You should separate what you can do for your loved one and what you will need caregiver support for, including nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy. You may need to contact a home care agency to set up regular appointments, including to check blood pressure, pulse, weight, or dress bandages.
You will need to know whether a residence or another setting, such as a nursing facility, rehabilitation hospital, or assisted living home, is needed. You can also figure out the best way to move your loved one from the hospital to their residence.
Once you and your relative have determined where they will go upon discharge, as the caregiver, you should make sure they have the proper equipment for all their needs. They may need hospital beds with height and position adjustment capabilities to meet their mobility needs and make caregiving easier.
The reasons for hospitalization can be quite severe and can lead to major changes in lifestyle. If your loved one has cognitive impairments caused by a stroke, Alzheimerʼs disease, or another complication, discharge planning can become more complex. You will need to be a part of all aspects of the discharge.
Before bringing in outside help, you may need to tell homecare workers about the special routines or communication techniques on which your relative now relies. Even without memory impairments, seniors can have hearing or vision problems that can be disorienting and make conversations hard to comprehend. The discharge plan should consider these new realities!
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