Returning to Senior Home Care After a Hospital or Rehabilitation Stay

These 6 tips can help you reduce the stress during this stressful time of senior home care!

senior home careWhen planning to bring a loved one back from the hospital or rehab to senior home care, you are given a tremendous amount of written and verbal information all at one time.  What should you do and what are the priorities?  Difficult to make these decisions especially under these stressful circumstances!!  Here are some simple tips to hopefully make this transition a bit easier:

  1. Do not purchase any medical equipment unless someone has been to your loved one’s home to do an environmental assessment.  Insurance usually pays for an assistive device for walking and a commode, and those are essential.  Sometimes, they will issue you ADL devices, and these are good to have.  Otherwise, there is a wide variety of equipment and there are many considerations to take into account when deciding which item to choose, especially for bathroom equipment.  A home care therapist will assist you w/ these decisions and prevent you from wasting a lot of time and money.
  2. Do not carry out any extensive home modifications or renovations unless you cannot bring your loved one into the home without them.  Your loved one’s physical skill level will probably change repeatedly over time and the modifications then may not be effective.  Wait until they come home and become acclimated to being at home again, until you can consult with home care professionals and other family members, and you can see for yourself how your loved one functions at home.  Then you can make a more informed decision.
  3. Set up a meeting with the facility discharge planner or social worker.  Write your questions down in advance.  Find out about agencies that may provide in-home care and about how to access available community resources even if you don’t think you will need this information initially.  Once you are at home, it will be more difficult to find someone knowledgeable to assist you in these areas.
  4. Take the medical supplies that your loved one has used like the wash basin, toiletries, a urinal for a male, the inspirometer for breathing exercise, non-skid socks, because you will need them at home and will then need to purchase them.  You already paid for them!
  5. Request a home exercise program from the therapists in writing and bring it home so your loved one can start to become more active immediately as is physically possible for them.
  6. Set up a follow-up appointment with your loved one’s primary care doctor ASAP.  Sometimes, the doctor did not even know he/she was in the hospital and therefore is not informed of any changes that have occurred.  Also, with hospitalization and rehabilitation, your loved one’s medications are often changed with some added and some discontinued.  These changes are not always effective over time, so an evaluation by a doctor who knows your loved one well will be necessary to avoid potential problems and confusion.

Just take a deep breath, collect all relevant information, bring your loved one home and get them settled back into their senior home care routine.  Then, when you have some time to think, reflect on what you should do next.  Senior home care nurses and therapists, other family members, and talking with your loved one will be very helpful ingredients for carrying-out this difficult decision-making processes.

Thank you to Cindy Lefkowitz who contributed this article.  Cindy is the owner of Seniors Helping Seniors of Delaware County and is a licensed occupational therapist.  We welcome Cindy and her husband and co-owner, Jay, to the Seniors Helping Seniors family!  If you have a relative in Delaware County, PA, you can reach Cindy at 610-306-3382. Or feel free to contact us and we will get you in touch with Cindy!

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