What Will I Need for Post-Hospitalization Care for my Aging Loved One?

By Roz Jones

When a loved one is hospitalized, there are many things to worry about. But once they come home, there are also a lot of details to take care of. Here is a list of what you will need to prepare for post-hospitalization care. Each person’s needs may vary, so be sure to talk to your loved one’s doctor and nurse about what specific instructions they have. With careful planning, you can make the transition from hospital to home as smooth as possible.

As a Caregiver, you will need to stay with your loved one at all times for the first 24 hours after they come home. It may be beneficial to arrange for another family member or caregiver to assist with taking care of your loved one. After that, you will need to ensure that there is someone available to help with meals, personal care, and any home modifications that may be needed.  

  1. Home modifications – Depending on your loved one’s condition, you may need to make some changes to your home. For example, if they are bedridden, you will need to make sure there is plenty of space for them to move around in and that all the furniture is arranged in a way that makes it easy for them to get in and out of bed. If your aging loved one will be wheel chair bound, install a wheelchair ramp and widen doorways. If you have stairs you want to make sure you install rails on both sides of the stairways, in addition to adding grab bars in the bathrooms. This is to ensure youor loved one has easy access inside and outside of the home. Be sure to lower any shelves and organize necessities to ensure your loved one is able to independently reach items whe needed. 
  2. Personal care assistance – Now that your loved one has been released from the hospital they may need your help with bathing, dressing, using the toilet and grooming. You will need to make sure that someone is available to help them with these tasks. Make sure to create a schedule and stick to it so your loved one is properly cared for at all times.
  3. Meal preparation and nutrition – You will need to make sure that your loved one is getting enough nutrients by planning well-balanced meals. If they are on a special diet, you will need to make sure that all their food needs are met. In addition, you should make sure your loved one is eating healthy foods that are easy to digest. Prepare yourself to cook or order in meals to meet your aging loved ones dieting needs.
  4. Medication management – Be sure to keep track of all the medication that your loved one is taking, as well as when and how to take it. You will also need to coordinate refills with the nearest pharmacy.
  5. Transport services – If your loved one is not able to drive themselves, you will need to arrange for transportation to and from doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, etc. This may include assistance with getting in and out of the car, or using public transit. 
  6. Companionship and socialization – Spending time with friends and family can help your loved one recover more quickly. But if you live far away or are unable to visit often, you may want to consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide regular conversation and activities to keep your loved one mentally stimulated.

Post-hospitalization care can be a lot smoother for both you and your loved one if you take the time to plan ahead. Make sure to have all of the necessary supplies on hand, arrange for transportation, and line up any needed home health services. If possible, try to enlist the help of a friend or family member who can assist with post-hospital care. With a little bit of preparation, you can make returning home after a hospital stay an easier process for everyone involved.

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