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Discharge From Hospital: How to Care for Ageing Parents

Often a hospital stay after a stroke or fall will result in lifestyle changes for elderly people. Being discharged from hospital doesn’t always mean returning home to live as before. After a certain age, care doesn’t end when a patient is discharged, and for family members, this can be a challenging and confusing time. Key questions may include: ‘how will the discharge be carried out?’, ‘what do we need to know about our loved one’s care needs?’ and ‘where will they live?’

When Will my Parent be Discharged?

The determining factors in the discharge of elderly patients are health condition and accommodation. Your loved one’s care team must be satisfied that they are well enough to leave and require no more inpatient hospital treatments. They must also establish that appropriate care is in place to allow them to return home or that alternative support has been arranged.

Treatment and Care Plans

The most critical element of the discharge is the treatment plan. The hospital will create this document in consultation with you, the patient and relevant professionals. It may include information on necessary medicines and therapies, and any scheduled hospital visits or stays.

Once this is in place, a care plan will be created. This consists of an evaluation of the likelihood of your parent or loved one being able to live independently. It may include questions such as ‘do you have stairs at home and are you confident you can manage them?’ ‘Can you carry out your own personal care, such as bathing and toileting alone?’ ‘Can you cook for yourself?’ ‘And do you need financial support?’

Establishing a Discharge Date

The next step is to arrange a discharge date. When dealing with issues such as Alzheimer’s care or finding suitable care at home, time is needed to put provisions into place. In private medical care, where your loved one’s insurance might cover extra nights, this can be flexible. However, within the NHS, demand for beds is extremely high. In this case, your loved one will be expected to vacate the bed as soon as hospital treatment is no longer needed. The discharge of an elderly person, particularly one in need of 24/7 care or home care, should be carefully and appropriately arranged, however. A vulnerable person should never be discharged during the night or without the proper transport arrangements.

Managing a Hospital Discharge

A key worker will coordinate the plans for the discharge of your elderly loved one. This is a role undertaken by a nurse, who should also have been your key contact during your relative’s hospital stay. This nurse is best placed to understand their needs and, if needed, will have also worked as part of their reablement team.

Colin and Dulcie’s story

Dulcie is 102-years-old and lives with her son Colin, his wife Mary, and her Carer Sarah. She has dementia and has had full-time live-in care for over two years.

We talk to the family about the challenges of finding the right care solution for a fiercely independent woman - and how the positive benefits of live-in care with Sarah has transformed all of their lives.

What is Reablement?

This is the name given to the necessary arrangements made when your parent or loved one can’t return home and carry on life as usual. The reablement team will have studied your parent’s transition towards discharge and may include a liaison nurse, discharge coordinator or an assessment officer. A clear set of requirements will be established through reablement and the discharge plan. It is then up to you and your loved one to decide how best to meet these needs.

Considering a Nursing Home or Care Home

Not all families or homes are ideal for multi-generational living. Issues of home size, work obligations or distance can make caring for an elderly parent by a family caregiver impossible. Usually, nursing home care, assisted living or in-home care will be the remaining options. However, for otherwise independent elderly parents, the idea of moving into a new, strange community living environment is not attractive. In cases such as these, live-in elderly care could be a much better option.

Arranging Private Live-in Care at Home

The benefits of arranging private live-in care at home are numerous. Your parent or loved one already has a home and is comfortable there. Prior to their hospital stay, they enjoyed a good standard of independent living and there is no reason why this lifestyle cannot continue. At Elder, we understand the value of independence and continuation. We also understand that managing reliable, professional home care can be a daunting experience. However, we work with our customers and care recipients to ensure that private round-the-clock support is a practical solution.

Who Will Care for my Parent at Home?

An Elder carer is a trained live-in carer with live-in nursing and dementia care experience. They undertake all support elements, such as washing, toileting, cooking and cleaning, as well as overseeing medicine routines. They also provide companionship and emotional support and can help your loved one get out and about to visit friends or attend appointments. As such, they take on the role of a family member and because they live in your loved one’s home, they are always on hand for unexpected needs and emergencies.

Managing a hospital discharge can be challenging, but having the knowledge that your loved one has a safe and supportive place to return to can be a huge weight off your mind.

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