Four tips for helping seniors who have been discharged from the hospital

Bryan Aldrige

June 5, 2012

If your loved one is returning from the hospital, there are a few things you need to do.If your loved one suffered an illness or injury that required a hospital stay, you've probably been feeling a little stressed out lately. From filling out forms to visiting to worrying, you've surely been keeping busy. However, now that your relative is recovering and is about to be discharged from the hospital, there are still many things that need to be done. After all, many seniors end up going back to the hospital within 30 days after discharge due to complications and other issues that result from a lack of care. To ensure that your loved one makes a speedy recovery, here are some tips to help you with the transition back home.

1. Be a big part of the discharge planning process. This means talking to the doctors who have been taking care of your relative to ensure that you understand what has been going on with his or her health and what needs to be done when you get home. Ask for details about the nature of the injury or illness and get specific instructions about how to administer medications and provide special care.

2. Get information about signs to look out for. Ask the doctors what to expect if something goes wrong, whether it's a physical sign like a fever or swelling or a mental behavior like confusion. Once you know what to watch for, keep an eye on your relative and ask him or her how things feel on a regular basis.

3. Invest in a medical alert device from Bay Alarm. Despite your best intentions, you can't be around 24/7 to ensure that your loved one is safe and healthy after being discharged. With a medical alarm, your relative will be able to push a button to connect with an emergency response team that can contact you, other relatives or the authorities in the event of a fall or medical emergency. You'll both have peace of mind knowing that help is always nearby.

4. Make your home comfortable. If your loved one will have medical equipment coming home with him or her, you'll need to make plenty of room for it. It's also a good idea to clear the pathways through your home, especially around where your relative will be staying. Make sure that the path from his or her bedroom to the bathroom is clear, and that things like area rugs and electrical cords are out of the way to prevent tripping.