When an elderly parent is discharged from the hospital you are likely to feel a variety of emotions. While it is certainly a cause for celebration, the discharge process and transition can be stressful. This is especially true if you are unsure of the level of care your loved one will require once they leave the hospital and return home.
When it comes time for a parent to be discharged from a hospital or rehabilitation center, it helps to know what to expect. Before the big day comes, Joan Davelis, RN, of Physician’s Choice Private Duty, recommends adult children ask themselves the following questions:
- Does my parent’s home have the necessary equipment to keep them safe?
- Will there be a responsible person at home with my parent?
- Who will be responsible for making sure that my parent gets the proper nutrition?
- What guidelines are in place for the correct distribution of medications?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help reduce the chance of being blindsided when your parent arrives home. It also is essential that you talk with your parent’s primary care physician well in advance of discharge so that a specific health care plan can be put in place.
The more you know what to expect regarding your loved one’s living situation in advance, the better. It is important to write down any questions you have for your parent’s primary care provider so that you don’t forget any. What follows is a list of questions to get you started:
- What specific therapies will my parent require?
- Will we need help with bathing or dressing?
- Will my loved one require someone to be with them 24 hours a day?
- What problems or symptoms do we need to look for?
- Who do we call in an emergency?
If your loved one requires medical equipment or an in-home caregiver, you should talk with their health insurance carrier or Medicare to find out what is covered before your parent leaves the hospital.
Most elderly patients returning home after a hospital stay or stint in a rehab center will require time to adjust to their “new normal.” While in a perfect world you could be there with your parent 24 hours a day while they adjust, this is not always possible. The next best option is to arrange for in-home care.
If your loved one was relatively independent before their hospital stay, it may take them some time to get used to having to ask for help. Here are some ways to make that easier:
- Interview potential caregivers to ensure that they are a good fit for your parent. A quality home health care agency will work with you to make sure your parent is comfortable with their in-home caregiver. Consider having the caregiver visit your loved one in the hospital so they can become acquainted.
- Ask the home health care agency to evaluate the safety of your parent’s home and recommend any areas that need to be addressed. For example, adding toilet safety rails.
- Let the caregiver know your loved one’s likes and dislikes. This includes everything from food to television channels.
A successful discharge from the hospital and transition back to home can be stressful on your parent and you. However, having a plan in place and knowing what questions to ask will allow for as smooth a transition as possible. It also will go a long way toward preventing readmissions.
More and more older Americans want to stay in their homes as long as possible. Thankfully, doing so may be more affordable than they believe.
While in a perfect world, people would plan and save their whole lives for such situations, the reality is not everyone can or does—for a variety of reasons.
In its article, You Can Afford a Home-Care Worker, the AARP offers tips for those planning ahead so they can afford in-home care in the future, as well as those who are in immediate need of such care. For those who are planning ahead, the article suggests investing in long-term care and life insurance policies with in-home care benefits.
For those who are in more of a “crisis-mode,” the article contains the following advice:
- Research services on eldercare.gov and benefits.gov
- Check out PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly), a Medicare and Medicaid program aimed at keeping frail seniors out of nursing homes
- Find out if any individual or group life insurance policies have cash value that can be used toward in-home care
- Investigate community resources such as the local Area Agency on Aging office and senior centers
Physicians Choice Private Duty offers quality in-home care for seniors. If you have a loved one who wants to remain in their home as long as possible, give us a call at 402-332-2273 to discuss how we can help make that a reality.
The majority of today’s seniors say they would prefer to stay in their own homes as long as possible. At the same time, many adult children stress over how they will be able afford in-home care for their elderly parent. The truth is, it ends up being more affordable than they think.
You may believe that hiring in-home care for your aging parent is something you simply can’t afford. Think again. Not only is such care more affordable than you might think, there are resources available to families who need help.
In-home health care is not a luxury reserved only for the rich. Families from all income levels are able to afford in-home care for an elderly parent. The key is to do your homework.
Keeping your elderly parent in his or her own home isn’t as expensive as you might imagine. It will, however, depend on things like the type and amount of care required.
Taking the Car Away From an Elderly Parent
Talking to an elderly parent about giving up the car keys can be very traumatic for both the parent and the adult child. Parents see losing their ability to drive as losing their independence and adult children wonder if they are doing the right thing. They also worry about how the conversation will go.
Many parents become depressed or combative when they are faced with the prospect of no longer driving. The way a child broaches the subject can make a huge difference in how a parent reacts.
Most articles on this subject talk about the dangers of elderly driving and how a family must be firm about taking the keys away. Some examples are below:
Keeping Your Elderly Parents in the Home Safely and Affordably
If you are responsible for the care of an elderly parent, chances are you want to keep your loved one at home because you believe that is where he or she will be the happiest and the most comfortable. You are not alone. Read more
The Many Benefits of Keeping Your Aging Parents at Home
Keeping Your Parent at Home
Conventional wisdom is that seniors want to stay in their home but this is often not feasible due to the cost involved with providing in home care.
Most articles compare the costs of in home health care vs. assisted living or nursing homes. These articles are filled with gloom and doom detailing how caring for your aging parents, at home or in a care center, spelled financial ruin.
At Physician’s Choice Private Duty, we look at things a different way. We know that it is possible to keep parents in the home without breaking the bank, if that’s your goal.
Here’s a favorite article from http://nurseslabs.com that we love and you’ll find helpful!
Nursing is a tough job and apparently, there are no shortcuts to providing good and quality care. However, this doesn’t mean we can’t make our lives easier while doing our job. Here’s list of nursing life hacks that can show you exactly how.
(we’ll give you the first 6 and if you’re interested, the full list of 30 will appear here: http://nurseslabs.com/30-nursing-life-hacks-probably-didnt-know/)
Go slow when you prime your IV. When you go full blast with the flow, there’s a good chance for tiny air bubbles to form within the tube. To avoid this, you can clamp the tube first, fill the drip chamber and let the fluid flow slowly. See also: 50 IV Therapy Tips and Tricks
Use gauze to prevent hair pulling when using a tourniquet. The friction a tourniquet creates against hair can be painful to patients. To address this, try placing a thin sheet of gauze in between the tourniquet and your patient’s skin.
Prevent pinching. Fold a washcloth and tuck it under the front of the bedside commode seat to prevent pinching.
Use hydrogen peroxide for blood stains. While we technically have no problem seeing blood, having them on our white uniform or your favorite scrub suit is a different story. Instead of wearing blood stains as your battle mark the entire shift, you can apply a few drops of hydrogen peroxide as a stain remover.
Removing blood stains with hydrogen peroxide
You can remove them from patient pillows too. Image via: Pinterest
Didn’t hit the mark? Try double insertion of foley catheters. Missing the mark isn’t only common to new nurses. The truth is, whether you’re a veteran or not, we’ve all had our fair share of the experience. When inserting a foley cath to a female patient and you fail to get a return, leave the first catheter in place and try the same procedure with another Foley catheter, aiming higher this time.
Powder a bedpan. Powder a bedpan before you put a patient on it for easier evacuation; especially useful for obese patients.
Those are the first 6 hints. Pretty great, right? If you’re interested, the full list of 30 appears here: http://nurseslabs.com/30-nursing-life-hacks-probably-didnt-know/
By John Henning Schumann, MD from NPR
Six months ago, an octogenarian patient told me he’d been having light-headedness. For decades, he’d taken a combination pill (two medications in one) to keep his blood pressure below 140/90, numbers proved important in preventing heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure. Light-headedness is common among older people on blood pressure drugs. “It’s as though I’m going to pass out,” he told me. “My vision fades, and I get wobbly legs.” Fortunately, my patient’s episodes had passed without him actually falling.
He and I agreed that it would make sense to stop his medicine for a month and see what happened – something called a drug holiday. My patient agrees to buy a home blood pressure cuff, use it two or three times a week, and share the results with me. A month went by. His blood pressure, over multiple readings, was fine. And no more light-headedness.
I wrote him back: “Stay off the medication – it’s clear from your readings you no longer need it.” He was thrilled. The decision saved him money and meant he could forget about one of his many daily pills.
Now new research has thrown that decision on to question. A federally funded study was recently stopped early because of evidence that aggressively lowering blood pressure saves lives. The new findings indicate indicate that getting the top (systolic) number to 120 or lower is even better at saving lives than the current standard of 140.
Still, I am satisfied my decision was a good one. I helped my patient avoid a drug-related problem like a fall and maybe a hip fracture – one of the banes of our aging population. What’s more, he and I pushed back against medical inertia the tendency to keep things the way they are because it’s easier than making a change.
My patient’s experience and stories like his have led me to believe that there comes a point in aging when our physiology changes. No doubt there are many factors, such as our senior brains, stiffening blood vessels, and changes in the ratios of our hormones. Sometimes age brings more illness, but in other cases, problems seem to diminish.
Too often, we overlook the option of de-prescribing, or discontinuing medications in older people who take a lot of them. A recent review of more than two dozen studies in which patients discontinued medications (including sedatives like Valium as well as blood pressure drugs) found that people did surprisingly well when they stopped taking them. Adverse symptoms abated, and their health generally improved.
As a doctor looking first to do no harm, I draw the following conclusion: Though I am ready to believe the better low blood pressure outcomes promised by the latest research, I’m also going to look for opportunities to minimize the overuse of drugs in older patients. For many of us, less medicine means more health.
If you have questions or concerns about your medications, contact us today. 402-991-7399
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Omaha, NE 68127
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Omaha's Premier In Home Assisted Living Provider