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Morning Sentinel

Medical Journal 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011



Home from the hospital At some point in a person's life he or she will spend time in a hospital and have to transition home after recovery. For seniors this is a common occurrence and one that can be particularly troublesome. A little planning can make the process easier on the patient and the caregiver. • Plan early. Learn when the discharge date will be and find out what will be needed at home. Talk with hospital staff about what equipment can make recovery at home easier. A caregiver may get recommendations on nearby medical supply stores and other vendors that can provide what's needed, such as visiting nurses. • Rearrange the home. Things at home may need to be changed depending on why the person was hospitalized. Individuals with crutches or in a wheelchair may need extra space made in the home to travel safely. If the patient normally sleeps upstairs, a bed may need to be set up downstairs instead. Ramps may need to be installed over stairs as well.

• Make a list. Keep a list of important phone numbers, including the doctor and the local pharmacy, on a central list so that it is easy to contact the person in case of an emergency. • Expect extra costs. Some procedures may be covered by health insurance, others may not. Family members may have to rally together to offset costs for medical care outside the realm of insurance. • Get help. Many family members want to be the sole caregiver for a parent or spouse who has left the hospital. But the demand of around the clock care can sometimes be overwhelming. Caregivers should not be embarrassed to ask for help, even if that means hiring a professional. Providing the best care for the patient should be the priority. • Patient support: The newly discharged patient may have mixed feelings about being at home and fawned over. Therefore, caregivers should tread lightly to develop a strategy that works well for everyone.

Upon being discharged from the hospital, individuals may need personalized care at home.