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Creating a Care Plan Beyond Hospital Discharge Instructions

It’s essential to be aware of a loved one’s needs after they’ve been discharged from the hospital. Although the discharge means that they’re healthy enough to recover from the comfort of their home, you must prepare a care plan to ensure their recovery process is swift, safe, and effective.

Here are some of the more important considerations when preparing their recovery care plan:

Prepare before they arrive

Before your older loved one is given official discharge instructions, you should start putting together an effective plan. As a caregiver, it’s essential to stay in close contact with the hospital, physician, discharge planner/social worker and the interdisciplinary team to get an idea of when the discharge will be planned and what the person will need once they get home. These preparations ensure that you’re ready to go when they arrive.

Ensure that you’re capable of providing care

The caregiver role is critical for recently discharged older people. Lack of planning can cause many problems, including hospital readmission or an extended recovery period. If you’re a caregiver for a loved one, you must consider whether you’re suitable to provide care. Recently discharged patients will typically need an extra level of support, so flexibility and availability are essential. Professional caregivers can always lend a helping hand and are usually a great source of knowledge and ideas.

Get any required training

If you’re acting as a caregiver for an older loved one following surgery, injury, or medical procedure, you might have to undergo proper training to help aid their recovery. Training will help ensure that you’re prepared to respond quickly and responsibly if health challenges present themselves. There are plenty of authoritative training courses online and even support groups of caregivers who have gone through the same process. You can also ask the doctor and/or the discharge planner/social worker for advice.

Identify their needs and requirements

Before your elderly loved one arrives home, you should receive a discharge note from the hospital. Clarify any queries with the hospital and once you’re ready, make adjustments to the home to accommodate any needs. Their requirements will typically include medication, check-ups, and changes to any wound dressings.

Arrange for specialist visitations

Your loved one might need specialist health services such as speech and language therapy or occupational therapy as part of their recovery. The hospital should help you arrange this before the discharge process. Include their visits in your plan so your loved one will be ready for them to maximize the benefits.

Prepare a personal care routine

Once you know the condition of your loved one and what they can and can’t do, you should prepare a personal care routine. Be sure to consider their limitations and what they’ll be able to do on their own. You might find that they need assistance with bathing or dressing.

Work out who’s in charge of what

After being discharged from the hospital, your older relative will likely be frail and unable to do specific tasks. These tasks can include bathing, getting dressed, or eating. It’s vital that those living at home and willing to help know their support role and how to do it. This way, conducting those tasks goes quickly, efficiently, and more comfortably for both of you. If you’re on your own, consider asking friends and family to take turns to visit and help where they can.

You can also retain an agency to help provide professional care on-demand when you need a break, and no one is available to take over. Experienced caregivers can also serve as a sounding board for any questions you have and consult on how to best move forward with the recovery plan.

Put together a medication planner

Your loved one must stay on top of any medication or other supplementary treatments necessary. Missing these can delay the recovery and even result in readmissions, so have a planner that maps out when they need to take medication as well as the proper dosage.

Communicate and engage

You should always check in with your elderly loved one during the recovery period to ensure that they’re comfortable. Build trust that will encourage them to open up about any pain or discomfort or if they’re restless or bored. Check that they’re happy with your routine and identify potential improvements early on to help promote a faster, more successful recovery.

Conduct periodic evaluations

Throughout the recovery process, you should be accessing the progress of your loved one. Are they getting better? Is the recovery going as planned? If there’s no considerable recovery, you should always consult with professionals and discuss the best way forward. If things are going well, you can start implementing new steps to the routine, such as introducing a hobby or exercise. Either way, checking and tracking progress is essential for ensuring the recovery is working.

In-home nursing care in Etobicoke, Mississauga, and Brampton

When a loved one needs additional support during recovery from a stroke, surgery, accident, or other medical procedure, CareHop is there when you need us. We offer professional in-home nursing care that prioritizes the individual’s needs.

Our goal is to provide empathetic support so you or your loved one can get back to doing the things they love to do most as quickly and safely as possible.

Please feel free to contact us anytime for more information about our in-home nursing care, elder care, or other support services. We’d love to discuss how our approach to quality in-home care can make a positive difference in the lives of your loved one and your family.

About the Author

Michael Lu is the founder of CareHop. He started the business inspired by his Grandmother to look at ageing as a happy experience to bring sunshine into the homes of others.

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