Going to the hospital can be stressful. Taking your older loved one for a short or long-term stay can be even more challenging. Planning ahead and understanding what to expect can help reduce that stress and make you feel more comfortable with what to do next. We’ve outlined what you should expect and how to prepare for your next hospital visit.
Preparing for your Older Loved One’s Hospital Visit
Follow the suggestions below about what to expect when checking into the hospital.
Prepare Yourself and Loved One for Discomfort and Risks
Being away from home and if staying overnight at the hospital can cause disorientation. Depending on your loved one’s mental and physical state it can possibly cause discomfort and even panic. Follow these suggestions to mitigate any risks or injuries:
- Use the controls to lower their bed before they get in or out
- Keep the things they need within easy reach
- Make sure they take only prescribed medicines while at the hospital
- Make sure they use handrails on stairways and in hallways if they are allowed to walk
To help reduce discomfort, consider bringing the following items with you:
- Change of clothes (i.e. nightclothes, bathrobe and clothes to wear home)
- Toiletries such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, brush, deodorant, and razor
- A list of medicines, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs
- Details of past illnesses, surgeries, and any allergies
All health insurance information (including the insurance card)
Don’t Simply Accept What Is Happening
In the hospital, you are surrounded by expert physicians and patient care providers. With that said, if you feel unclear on what is happening or feel something else should occur – make sure to ask all of your questions before committing to any action. This is very important prior to discharge.
Get a Discharge Plan
Before leaving the hospital get a written discharge plan that should include:
- The post-hospital destination for your loved one (i.e. home, skilled nursing facility, memory care unit, short-term rehab, etc.)
- Clear directions on what your loved one will need for a safe transition from the hospital to the post-hospital destination
- List of all services and treatments your loved one will need post-discharge
Hospitals don’t have to be a stressful environment. Follow the suggestions above for your next visit and incorporate other items as you see fit.