What to Do if Your Senior Parent Is Hospitalized

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Steps to Take When an Aging Loved One Goes to the Hospital in Des Moines, IA

When your senior loved one has to go to the hospital, it’s perfectly normal to be stressed and concerned. However, as a caregiver, there are still several responsibilities you need to fulfill during the crisis. To make sure your loved one’s needs are fully met, follow these steps.

Keep Open Lines of Communication with the Hospital Staff

Being able to communicate with staff members at the hospital is one of the most important steps. You’ll need to learn who the primary hospital doctor is and speak to the nurses. It can also be helpful to alert your loved one’s regular primary care physician to the fact that your loved one is in the hospital. If you have any legal documents identifying you as your loved one’s guardian or the person with healthcare power of attorney, make sure to bring these with you.  If your loved one is living with cognitive challenges due to dementia, you may be required to communicate with medical personnel on his or behalf. Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. Des Moines families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life.

Pack a Bag with Your Loved One’s Essentials

If your loved one is going to be in the hospital for more than a few hours, prepare an overnight bag. Make sure it includes all the usual toiletries, a comfortable pair of pajamas, any medications your loved one takes, glasses, hearing aids, and other necessities. If your loved one is going to be conscious and stuck convalescing for a while, consider packing some small items for entertainment, such as books, crossword puzzles, or a tablet computer. Ideally, you should be prepared in advance for the possibility your parent may have to go to the hospital. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

Gather Financial Information & Talk to the Hospital

In many cases, how seniors will be paying for their care is a major concern. You can help your parent by getting the process started. Figure out if he or she has Medicaid, Medicare, and/or private insurance. If you’ll find it difficult to pay, ask the hospital for an itemized bill and a payment plan. Most hospitals have social workers families can meet with to start working on financial challenges right away.

Handle Your Loved One’s Usual Responsibilities

When you can talk to your parent, you may find his or her first instinct isn’t to discuss his or her condition with you. Instead, many seniors worry about things like missed book club meetings, pets who need to be fed, or plants that need to be watered. Try to think about all your parent’s responsibilities and take care of them. This can ease your parent’s fears and help him or her recover without worrying.

Take Notes on Your Loved One’s Care Needs

It can be overwhelming when you’re talking to a different doctor every hour and getting lengthy instructions. Try to use your phone or a notebook to take notes whenever a healthcare professional is talking to you. This keeps you from second-guessing care needs later on, and it ensures you don’t forget anything because you were too stressed to comprehend instructions at the hospital.  After your loved one returns home, keeping track of his or her conditions and medications can be challenging, and a home caregiver can be a fantastic source of support. Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Des Moines senior home care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help. If you need professional home care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (515) 264-2438.


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