Hospitals…Love Them, Hate Them – Finding Home, Part 3

My previous two blogs spoke about the stress of dealing with a medical emergency that sends your loved one to the hospital. When a parent or elderly family member experiences their first real medical emergency, that is the time you find yourself stepping into the roles of care coordinator, care planner and care giver (often for the first time in that loved one’s life and yours). It’s  not an easy role to assume.

As family caregivers, we don’t usually get closely involved in our loved one’s health care until a medical crisis occurs and then suddenly we need to know much more than we ever wanted to know about our loved one’s medical history, medications, doctors, etc.  So, what can you know ahead of time that’ll help you feel better prepared for the time you may need to step in to help?

First, be prepared that your loved one will not be going directly back to their own home from the hospital. It may be a situation that your loved one can go home with some home health care for a few days or weeks and all is well and life gets back to :normal,” whatever “normal” is. But, what if your loved one needs to go into some kind of care facility from the hospital?

You and your loved one will be dealing with a hospital discharge planner or case manager as the doctor says it’s time to be discharged from acute care. Discharge planners/case managers are typically either nurses or social workers by background and their job is to help find the right kind of facility with the right care for your loved one and help you understand how health insurance will either pay (or not) for that next level of care, what the expected prognosis is, when to follow up with your loved one’s primary care doctor, and get everything ready for the day of discharge.

Now, there is a lot I could expand upon on how to work with the hospitalist (the doctor who cares for your loved one in the acute care hospital) and the hospital team (nurses, pharmacists, physical, speech and occupational therapists, etc.) and the discharge planner, but I will come back to those issues in future blogs. Let’s just stay focused on the scenario that your loved one needs to go into a care facility after the hospital.

Stay tuned for Finding Home, Part 4!

Helping Hearts Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people in need throughout our communities, hopes you’ll use us as a sounding board. We’re committed to making a difference, one person at a time, so please give us a call today at 916.368.7200.

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