One moment they are fine; the next moment they are in the hospital, life forever changed.
We don’t anticipate the accidents that put us in the hospital. Yet when they happen, the results can be devastating.
And if the hospital stay involves your elderly parent, life can take unexpected turns even more quickly. They may no longer be able to care for themselves on a full time basis. You may instantly become a caregiver, without any prior warning.
Then comes the moment that changes everything. The nurse or social worker tells you your parent will be released in the next few hours. Now what?
Its easy to get overwhelmed and leave with a bunch of papers in one hand, and over abundance of questions that pop up immediately after you drive away. If your parent is in the process of being discharged, be prepared and ask this list of questions first.
- What date and time will my parent be discharged?
- What is the best way to transfer my parent back home? Will I need special help?
- What medications will be given before release?
About your loved one’s condition:
- What should I expect the first 24 hours?
- What setbacks can occur? When should I be concerned?
- What follow-up is necessary in the coming week? Who do we need to schedule appointments with?
- What can I expect in the coming weeks, months and years?
- What types of services have been prescribed? Who will pay for them?
- What else can we do to improve prognosis?
About living arrangements:
- Can my parent live on his or her own? What type of services is necessary to remain at home?
- What techniques do I need to know upon release?
- Where can I go or who can I call as questions arise?
- What dietary restrictions does my loved one have?
- What is being prescribed?
- How does it react with current medications?
- What are the side effects?
- When should medication be taken? Is it necessary to take with food? Can things be taken together?
Do you have any additional questions you’ve found helpful in this situation?