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Home Care After Hospital Discharge: 6 Tips & Considerations

Home Care After Hospital Discharge: 6 Tips & Considerations

Hospital trips are never easy, especially when you see your loved one struggling with their health. And even after they get discharged from the hospital, you might find yourself wondering how to best take care of them. The doctors and nurses at the hospital may brief you on their care, but you could still have a slew of questions, especially once you’re on your own.

That’s where a list like the one below comes in handy. We’ve compiled six of the most helpful tips and considerations for you to navigate your loved one’s care after they’re sent home from the hospital. 

  1. Ensure Proper Medication Management
  2. Understand Wound Care Regimens
  3. Remove Possible Safety Hazards and Obstacles
  4. Keep Up With Follow-Up Appointments and Evaluations
  5. Medical Equipment: Machines and Devices
  6. Dietary Restrictions and Special Food Needs

Ensure Proper Medication Management

It’s essential that your loved one takes all of their prescribed medications as directed. Medication management is one of the most important things to consider after a hospital discharge, as taking too much or too little could have severe consequences for your loved one. 

Many home healthcare workers manage medications as part of their general duties. That’ll help take much of the stress off of you, especially if you have no medical training. However, if you have to take over this part of your loved one’s care, keep the following factors in mind: 

  • Dosage (how many pills or milligrams) 
  • Quantity (how many are in the prescription bottle) 
  • Possible side effects 
  • Dangerous interactions with other substances 
  • Frequency (how many times a day) 
  • Timing 

Regarding those last two points, it’s best to set timers or other kinds of reminders so you remember to administer their medication on time.

Understand Wound Care Regimens

If your loved one has had surgery or suffered a fall, severe scrape, burn, cut, or another injury that damaged or tore through their skin, they may need specific wound care. 

On that note, make sure you ask for instructions from their doctors and nurses at the hospital prior to your loved one’s discharge. Failing to take proper care of wounds can lead to dangerous infections and amputation in severe cases. 

In-home caregivers are well-versed in proper wound care and can take care of the basics for you. But if you’re unable to get in-home assistance right away, keep your loved one’s hospital paperwork close at all times. These instructions will come in handy as you care for their wounds. 

Remove Possible Safety Hazards and Obstacles 

If your loved one is struggling with limited mobility upon being discharged from the hospital, it’s important to free your home from as many safety hazards as possible. That means keeping your floors free from clutter and setting up supports throughout the house. If your loved one has a walker or wheelchair, install ramps as an alternative to stairs. 

Keep Up With Follow-Up Appointments and Evaluations 

Your loved one will likely have follow-ups, health assessments, and even in-home medical visits after their hospital stay. If they have a severe wound or have experienced a life-threatening medical event, chances are they’ll have quite a few follow-ups. 

Don’t be tempted to skip these, even if your loved one seems fine. Medical professionals can catch subtle signs of danger during these appointments. They can also recommend the best practices for healing and recovery that will allow your loved one to get back to their regular activities faster. 

Medical Equipment: Machines and Devices 

You may be given certain devices and other forms of medical equipment to use in the care of your loved one as they return home. Sometimes, these are as simple as walkers or wheelchairs. Other times, you may need to make space for an oxygen tank or similar equipment. 

Make sure you fully understand how all of your loved one’s medical devices work, whether such devices include oxygen, monitors, or mobility aids. Some medical equipment poses safety hazards around certain chemicals or behaviors. For example, smoking near oxygen tanks can cause dangerous or fatal explosions. Learn the restrictions you must follow around their equipment to keep everyone safe and healthy. 

Dietary Restrictions and Special Food Needs 

It’s common for seniors to be put on medically restricted or otherwise unique diets after a hospital stay. A nutritious diet can help combat certain health conditions, like heart disease and high blood pressure. With that in mind, it’s wise to ask questions and learn what foods your loved one can and should eat after they’re discharged. 

For example, if your loved one has high blood pressure, you’ll need to prepare meals with low sodium content. And that means you should avoid adding any table salt to their food. Other seniors may need puréed or blended foods if they have trouble safely swallowing. 

In-home caregivers have the extensive knowledge and training to prepare safe, healthy meals for seniors with health problems. There’s no shame in hiring some help to assist you in your precious loved one’s daily care. 

Navigating Daily Life With Your Loved One After a Hospital Stay

It’s understandable to feel overwhelmed and scared after your loved one’s hospital stay. After all, they must have had a severe medical event or injury that needed immediate attention. But now that they’re coming home, you can prepare yourself to keep them safe, healthy, and happy.

Sometimes, that means hiring in-home healthcare workers to manage the more complex aspects of your loved one’s recovery care. No matter what you choose to do, know that your loved one is in great hands. 

If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation.  Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.

Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia CareBed & Wheelchair Transfer AssistanceCompanionshipHousekeeping & Meal PreparationPersonal CareRecovery Care, and Transportation.

Serving the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater San Diego, Family Matter In-Home Care has offices throughout California including: Campbell, CARoseville, CASan Marcos, CA, and San Mateo, CA.

Carol Pardue-Spears

Carol has worked in the healthcare field for more than forty years. As a Certified Nursing Assistant, she worked for El Camino Hospital in the cardiac unit, Los Gatos Community Hospital, The Women’s Cancer Center in Los Gatos and several home health and hospice agencies. Carol founded Family Matters in 2002 to fill a deficit she witnessed in high-quality, in-home services and care.

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