If your parent has experienced a recent injury or illness that took them to the hospital, both of you may be concerned about how they will cope when they are back at home. In order to ensure their safety and relieve any fears or insecurities, consider taking these steps before your loved one is released.
Communicating with their Health Care Providing Team
Before your parent leaves the hospital, be sure to make an appointment with their primary health care provider or therapist who is taking over their rehabilitation. Find out exactly what your parent can and cannot do in terms of the everyday activities of living which includes bathing, dressing, meal preparation, driving and other daily tasks. If their bedroom is located on the second floor, ask if they will be able to navigate the stairs. If not, you will need to move them to a downstairs bedroom or possibly rent a portable bed. Have a thorough understanding of what your parent’s needs will be regarding rehabilitation and medication. Determine if you will require additional equipment such as a wheelchair or an oxygen tank. Ask for a contact number should you have questions during the recovery phase.
Making the Home Safe
Make their home as safe as possible before their return. This involves removing any slipping hazards such as throw rugs and placing non-skid mats in the shower and by the sinks. You may need to remove floor wax. Remove any tripping hazards by walking commonly used pathways, looking for any intruding furniture or wires or cords that may pose a concern. Clean up any clutter. Install grab bars in appropriate places such as the shower and by the toilet. Your parent may also require a raised toilet seat. Make sure their home is well lit and consider installing night lights in the bathroom and kitchen.
Obtaining the Support your Parent Needs
If your loved one is going to require help with the everyday activities of living, make sure you have a team in place before they come home that can assist them with daily tasks. Write up a daily schedule regarding your parent’s needs, including transportation to appointments and social interaction. Check with friends, family and community members to see if and when they can pitch in. You’ll be surprised at the people that are happy to help out. If you find your parent still needs additional care, consider obtaining the services of a home care provider. These professionals can assist with their daily tasks as well as accompany them to appointments and provide companionship.