Do you have an elderly family member who’s recovering in the hospital?
Have you and the rest of the family been taking turns visiting, making sure someone is with them all the time? Are you exhausted; do you need to get back to work, but don’t want to leave them alone?
If you’re thinking of hiring a caregiver to be with your elderly family member when you can’t be there, here are 5 things you need to know:
1. Bed rest is not good for anyone, especially the elderly
With very few exceptions, bed rest is an old-fashioned idea that has no place in modern medicine.
Bed rest leads to deconditioning, muscle weakness and atrophy.
Bed rest can also lead to pressure sores, pneumonia, constipation and depression.
The sooner they can get up and out of bed, and the more active they can be, the faster your elderly family member will be able to return home.
2. You need someone who is going to help activate your family member
You may have heard the term “sitter” used to describe people who will “sit” with your family member. This is the last thing an older person needs. They need someone who is going actively help them to improve. You need a caregiver (not a sitter) who can:
- Help reposition them to reduce the chance that they develop bed sores
- Help ensure they stay hydrated – which along with other benefits will help reduce episodes of orthostatic hypotension, and help minimize the incidence of constipation
- Assist with meals – ensuring that containers are opened and that meals are available and, as much as possible, are actually consumed – to help make sure your family member has the nutrition they need, to maintain their strength, and aid in their recovery
- Provide assistance with transfers and ambulation – to help minimize the risk of falls
3. Hire a reputable agency for in hospital care for seniors
Believe it or not, many hospitals in Toronto have individuals trolling the hallways and soliciting families for work as caregivers. Are these people certified PSWs? Do they have any legitimate credentials? Do they know how to provide proper care? Are they insured, bonded, covered by Workers Compensation? Who knows?
Often families are lulled into a false sense of security thinking that the person must be okay, after all, she’s here at the hospital. She’s working with other patients.
Oh, and she’ll work for cash!
Don’t be fooled, and don’t put your elderly family member at risk.
We have heard some very upsetting stories in our 24 years providing elder care services, about patients being taken advantage of, being mistreated and not receiving proper care.
Always hire a reputable senior care provider.
Eldercare Home Health provides Nurse supervised, in-hospital care to seniors in Toronto and the GTA. Our caregivers are interviewed, screened and reference checked. You always have a Nurse to talk to if you have any concerns or want to make any changes. And we’ve been providing senior care for over 24 years.
4. Don’t be afraid to speak up
Many people make the mistake of thinking that if they speak up about concerns that they have about in-hospital-care, that their family member will suffer consequences.
In our years of experience, this is seldom the case.
As long as you are reasonable and clearly have your family member’s best interests at the core of any requests or suggestions you make, you’ll likely find that the hospital staff are responsive, or at the very least, can shed light on why things are the way they are.
If you are having challenges with care provided by the frontline staff, talk with the Charge Nurse, Unit Manager or the Doctor who is responsible for your family member’s care. If you still are not satisfied, contact the Patient Care Ombudsman of the hospital.
5. Having a Nurse assist with your family member’s discharge home is essential
Discharge home – It’s exciting to be taking your elderly family member home from the hospital. It can also be overwhelming and a time when things can easily go off the rails.
Medication prescriptions may not have been updated, there may be discrepancies between medications prescribed before hospitalization, during hospitalization and post-hospitalization
Filled prescriptions need to be double checked. It is not as uncommon as you may think for the medications dispensed to be incorrect.
You need to make sure any assistive devices or mobility aids that your family member needs are with you, and that they are working properly. It’s aggravating – not to mention dangerous, to discover just as you’re leaving hospital, that the brakes on your mom’s walker haven’t been working properly for her entire hospital stay (when you could also have had them fixed)!
Make sure that any changes needed to accommodate your family member’s return home have been put in place. These could include installing a raised toilet seat, additional hand rails, removing tripping hazards, or bringing in a hospital bed etc.
At Eldercare Home Health our Nurse Case Managers help our clients with their discharge home from the hospital – at no extra charge.
Our experienced Nurses can help minimize your stress, and reduce the likelihood that your family member will need to return to the hospital.
Help your elderly family member get the care they deserve, get PSW care that’s supervised and case managed by Nurses – at no additional charge.
Contact Eldercare Home Health today!