After a serious health event that requires hospitalization, the days and weeks that follow can be strenuous at best. Many people need rehabilitation services, such as physical, occupational, or speech therapies. Some may even need nursing care until they are fully recuperated.
For families, this time frame can be life-changing. The realization that things are changing and may never be the same becomes a stark reality. You may discover that your loved one doesn’t have a voice in the process, which can leave you even more stressed as you scramble to determine what’s next.
Your best bet at this time is to find your voice. Ask questions. Then ask them again.
Because the answers will change all the time.
Create a hospital discharge plan
This guides you to decide what’s next. You should start this process from the moment your loved one enters the hospital. Questions will become your best sense of direction.
- What’s next?
- What therapies will we need?
- What services will health insurance or Medicare pay for?
- Who handles personal tasks such as dressing or bathing?
- How safe will my loved one be every hour of the day?
- How much support will they need to do everyday tasks?
- What problems can arise?
- What is the average length of recovery?
- What side effects should I watch for?
- What do I consider an emergency?
One question leads to another. And even when you backtrack and ask the same question again, you may get a different answer. Be sure to take it all in and write it down. This tool will become invaluable as you navigate each new day.
Consider Your Resources Carefully
All rehabilitation programs are not the same. And many rehabilitation programs have waiting lists trying to get in. As early as possible, start doing research and creating a tentative schedule of what your loved one will need next. Then start making calls to find out where they will best fit.
Many people are not aware that different therapies can be given in different ways. It’s up to everyone to decide the best route for your loved one. Some can be in home processes; some need skilled nursing care in order to receive the best help.
Look at the assistance your loved one requires from every angle. Will they need an advocate to ensure they are getting proper care every hour of the day? How much can they handle on their own? Again, the answer to this question can change daily. Be sure you revisit it on a constant basis.
Get Better Yourself
Most people only push to do what’s best for their loved one without stepping back and doing what’s best for themselves. This can be a heavy burden for some people, especially if they are dealing with health problems of their own.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to take the time you need to do what’s right for you. Your questions shouldn’t always be about the best care for your loved one; also ask questions for your state of being. Find out what counseling options are available to you to ensure you stay healthy through this transition. Not addressing feelings can be detrimental to the entire process.
This is a time of transition for everyone involved. Take the steps necessary to build a solid life plan from this day on.
How can we help you during this time in your life?