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Being Prepared for Hospital Discharge

Have you ever had a loved one in the hospital, taken them home only to realize you did not have the information you needed to care of them properly? I wouldn’t be surprised this happens quite a bit!

Discharge planning is supposed to begin on admission to the hospital, in reality, most times it is not. So, it’s important the person’s spouse/family knows how to care from them once discharged from the hospital. It is for this reason, that you ask the doctor/nurses/discharge planner to educate you on the following things before discharge. Do not be afraid to ask them to review this information with you!

  • Know if your loved one has restrictions and what activities are allowed. Can they walk, take a shower, go upstairs, or lift objects? Are they going to require 24/7 care?
  • Know what kind of physical care your loved one will need. Will you need training?  Changing dressings, performing wound care, taking blood pressures, administering medications require education. Home care services can train and help with these things, but it is best if education starts in the hospital. Ask the nurse to teach you while performing these tasks in the hospital.
  • Know what kind of equipment and supplies you will need to care for your loved one. Will you need special equipment like a shower chair, commode, walker, or wheelchair? Will you need briefs, gloves, special skin care items, oxygen, or wound supplies? St. Therese of Lisieux has items in the Medical Lending Closet you can borrow. Contact Marilyn Cito, the Parish Nurse at 586-254-4433 Ext. 357 for assistance. Other resources include volunteer organizations like the Kiwanis of Shelby Township, Area Agency for Aged, or your community organizations, like the Shelby Township Senior Community Center.
  • Know if your loved one will need special foods/preparation. If your loved one is in the hospital, speak to the dietician about the special diet. Diets such as diabetic, low sodium, and renal diets require thought when preparing meals for proper nutrition. Will dietary supplements such as Ensure or Boost be needed to help with nutrtion? If so, check with St. Therese of Lisieux Medical Lending Closet for available supplies.
  • Make sure you are educated about your loved one’s medications, dosages and schedule. Ask the hospital and home care nurse to review this information with you. If the medications are new, your pharmacist can be a valuable resource.
  • Know when your loved one needs to return to the doctor for follow-up care. This includes new doctors you many now have. Think about transportation. Will you need help getting your loved one to the doctor? Check with family and friends to see if they can help. Community resources are also available.
  • Make your home safe for your returning loved one. Remove trip hazards like area rugs or cords. Ensure your loved one has gripping shoes or slippers. If you will need medical equipment or a hospital bed, ask someone help you with moving of existing furniture.
  • Your loved one may also need assistance with medical expenses or other financial issues. If you do not normally take care of these things, discuss options with your loved one before they become ill.

Although none of us like to think we might experience a life-altering event like becoming ill, being prepared for the unexpected is best!