The stress of facing a hospitalization, whether planned, such as for a surgical procedure, or unexpected from sickness, a fall, or other injury, can be greatly reduced when a caring advocate is by a senior’s side. The senior care specialists at THE MEDICAL TEAM share the following tips to help hospitalized seniors, and those who care for them, experience a more comfortable hospitalization experience.
Provide Comfort. Equipping the senior with some of the comforts of home can help transform the sterile hospital environment into one that’s soothing and more familiar. Consider bringing along the person’s blanket, robe, and slippers, a portable CD player and some favorite music, books, personal toiletry items, and a framed picture.
Be Informed. Helping to keep track of medications the senior has been prescribed, how often medications should be given, and dosage amounts, can reduce the risk of busy hospital staff missing a dose or overmedicating the senior. If the person is on a restricted diet, it’s also beneficial to monitor meals to ensure they’re in adherence. You can also provide nurses and other medical staff with details on any special needs or concerns the senior may have. All information can be kept in one central location, such as a notebook, for easy access among family caregivers and medical staff.
Be Present. Your presence with the hospitalized senior is one of the best gifts you can offer. The benefits from simply holding the senior’s hand, sharing a meal, reading or watching TV together, are priceless. Your presence can serve as a welcome distraction from the reason behind the hospitalization.
Help at Home. Often a hospitalized senior feels the stress of what’s left undone at home. To alleviate the senior’s concerns, put together a list of tasks to be taken care of by yourself or other family and friends who want to help. Suggested ideas include housework and laundry, preparing some meals in advance that can be easily reheated, tending to yard work, and pet care, just to name a few.
Screen Visitors. The senior may or may not feel up to entertaining visitors while hospitalized. Serve as a liaison between concerned family members and friends, advising them when the best time might be to visit and sharing their well wishes with the senior.
When the senior is ready to be discharged, there are additional steps to help the person recover and avoid a re-hospitalization. Nearly half of all older adults experience medication errors after leaving the hospital, which can be avoided with effective post-hospitalization care. Modifying the home for fall prevention is also essential. Remove throw rugs and any other tripping hazards, ensure grab bars and handrails are in place, and clear clutter away from walking paths.
Caring for hospitalized seniors and providing seamless, consistent care through the transition back home and during recovery, can be made easier by partnering with a professional in-home care agency like THE MEDICAL TEAM. Our respite care services ensure that someone is always available to both advocate for a senior and monitor for any potential health concerns in order to bring them to the attention of the physician and reduce the chance of a rehospitalization.
Our skilled, compassionate care team is on hand throughout New Orleans, Detroit, Austin, Dallas, and the metro DC area to provide a full range of home health care services including skilled nursing, coordination of home medical equipment needs, social worker services, physical, occupational and speech therapy, home health aide and homemaker assistance, and much more. Contact us with any questions or to arrange for senior care services.