Malcolm is the Corporate Vice President of Eldercare Home Health Inc.

How to plan for a senior's return home from the hospital. How to plan for a senior's return home from the hospital. Click the thumbnail to enlarge.

In this article for Hospital News, by the President of Eldercare Home Health Lisa Wiseman, Lisa talks about the discharge process and the importance of proper planning to help make your elderly family member’s return home a success.

Below you’ll find the text from the article on discharge planning:

Planning for a senior’s return home is vitally important in helping to make the transition from hospital to home a successful one. Discharge planning, as it is known, should begin the day a patient goes to the hospital. in reality, everyone is so focussed on the health condition that brought the patient to the hospital in the first place, that discharge planning is usually not on the radar screen until the patient’s condition has improved and he or she is closer to the day of returning home. Here are five important tips to help seniors and their families plan a successful discharge.

Find out who is coordinating the discharge.

Often it is the Social Worker. Let that person know that you want to be kept up to date on the discharge planning and that you and your family will likely need some lead time in order to get things in order, before you or your relative goes home.

Use the expertise of healthcare professionals in hospital. Ask each member of the healthcare team for advice on how you can prepare for discharge home and for a plan once ou get there. For example, if a physiotherapist has treated you , ask him/her to leave you with a printed sheet of exercised that you can follow when you get home. If a walker is suggested, get a prescription for the right size and type of walker before you go home. If a dietitian assess you, ask him/her for a list of suggested meal plans to follow to support your recovery at home. Ask your physician for the current list of medications that are being administered to you in hospital. They may be different than those you cam in with. Don’t hesitate to ask the occupational therapist for a list of assistive devices that he/she feels would be particularly helpful for you.

Home assessment and modifications.

Ask if members of the health-care team make home visits. An occupational therapist could make specific suggestions for you home safety such as grab bars in the shower, the removal of obstacles in your home, lighting changes, adaptions to kitchen appliances, etc. You may have been able to make do with things the way they were before your hospital stay, but it’s also possible that the right modifications could make home life a lot easier and safer. This kind of assessment may also be arranged once you or your relative has been discharged home.

Home health care

Ask if follow up care is recommended and it if will be provided in the community by the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC). If not, you will need to contact privately for the care needed. For example, a common scenario for a senior being discharged home from hospital is that the Community Care Access Centre will provide one (often, one hour) visit per week by a personal support worker to assist with safe bathing. However, many elderly clients will need several hours of assistance each day in order to meet their needs at home.

In summary: Discharge planning is key to a senior’s successful return home

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