Healthcare has advanced so much since the invention of modern medicine, and patients are now leaving the hospital much sooner than they could have in years past. But just because you or your loved one is well enough to return home, that does not mean that you are completely prepared for the emotionally and mentally tasking process of in-home recovery.
Did you know that 20% of seniors are readmitted to the hospital in thirty days or less after being discharged from the hospital? When seniors and their caregivers do not have adequate information about how to successfully go about the recovery process at home, a lot can go wrong. Most of these readmissions are caused by unforeseen accidents after discharge that results in an emergency that needs prompt medical care. The stress of returning home to no food in the house, piled-up bills or disarray and clutter caused by their absence can cause a recovering senior to feel like they have to spring into action right away. This often leads to them trying to perform tasks that they are just not physically capable of handling yet.
Independent Seniors Need Support, Too
This is especially problematic for seniors who live on their own and are solely responsible for taking care of themselves during their recovery time. The assistance of a friend or family member for even a few hours a day can significantly reduce this stress, but in some cases it just isn’t enough. Some independently-living seniors don’t feel safe returning home to recover, which in turn makes them feel unprepared for what’s to come. Support is essential, including a support network that keeps them from feeling alone all of the time. This is one of the main concerns of seniors coming home to finish their recovery process.
Oftentimes, seniors struggle to differentiate between normal stages of healing versus abnormal physical changes that need medical attention. This could cause them to panic and make an unnecessary hospital trip, or be ignored as they believe that their symptoms are “normal.”
There are many community service projects and programs out there to help seniors to get back on their feet during this time, but they’ll likely have to apply for these services. This will usually mean that there will be a delay in coverage, or a struggle to meet the requirements for eligibility.
Getting Ready to Bring Your Loved One Home
Preparations for your senior family member or friend’s return home should be completed before they are discharged from the hospital. There are a lot of things that must be done, including some things that you can get help with through the senior’s healthcare provider and/or the hospital.
Preparing for In-Home Recovery Checklist
 Explain to the senior the physical aspects of their recovery, and how they can best manage their condition.
 Educate their partner/spouse or other relatives who live with them about the condition and recovery process.
*This can lead to greater changes being made throughout the household, like improved diets and exercise routines, which can help tremendously during in-home recovery.*
 Ensure that there is a plan of action regarding the payment of the seniors’ bills.
 Make sure that the seniors’ home is free of mess and clutter and is able to accommodate their physical limitations.
 Create a plan to make sure that there are meals pre-prepared for the senior who is coming home so that they can focus on recovery rather than trying to push themselves too hard.
If the senior lives alone, they will need the assistance of their support network during this time. Many times, family cannot be there 24/7 to help their senior friend or relative through their in-home recovery due to work obligations or distance that makes it impossible. But there are things that someone can do to help their senior loved one, even for just a few hours a day:
- Tidy the house
- Prepare meals
- Clean and dry laundry
- Care for their pet(s)
If your loved one needs greater assistance than this, it might be time for you to consider the employment of a home health care services provider in Ottawa. A specialist with experience and knowledge in the care of seniors can take care of these essential tasks and are armed with information about the patient’s condition as to provide them the best care possible.