After a hospital stay most patients are eager to return home as soon as possible. This desire is no less true for the elderly and with some planning the return to home is not only possible but achievable.
Depending on the patient and the need for the hospitalization, making the home safe and efficient for an individual can be done by family members and friends with some minor changes to the home.
First, if the patient is recovering from a complicated surgery (like a joint replacement surgery or stomach surgery) then issues like stairs will need to be addressed. If there is no access to same floor bedroom and bathroom then perhaps a dining room or living room can be converted to into a recovery room. This is easily done with partitions and the purchase and/or rental of medical equipment such as a hospital bed, bedside commode, shower bench, and shower rails, for instance.
While it is always the goal to get home as quickly as possible, is a stay at a rehab community or nursing home an option? Very often these stays are covered under Medicare benefits and allow the family the necessary time to prepare the home for the patients to complete recuperation. Additionally, this type of physical therapy stay may allow the patient some time to regain strength and mobility; thus decreasing the likelihood of return to the hospital due to falls, infection or other health issues.
Once the patient is discharged from the hospital, nursing home, or rehab facility utilize as many services available to the patient as possible. For example, will a member of the physical therapy team make a home visit to evaluate the dwelling for safety and recommend changes? Medicare benefits can be used for Home Health Care which can consist of weekly visits by a nurse, physical therapist, or occupational therapist. Being discharged from the hospital does not necessarily mean being discharged from care. For the elderly, the more care and supervision received the more likely optimal outcomes.
Going home from the hospital is great, staying home is ideal. Plan for and receive care after the hospital stay, make changes to the home to ensure safety and enjoy the sweetness off being home!
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