Plan of Care After Hospital Discharge

returning-home-nutrition-480x450When a loved one is coming home from a Minneapolis hospital, there may be many additional tasks that are not covered in their hospital discharge plan. We’d all like to think that upon discharge our senior will be 100% better and ready to resume normal activity. But in most cases, more recovery time is usually needed. Having a good plan of care helps ensure a smooth transition home and minimizes stress for their family caregiver. Download this care plan worksheet to help you prepare.

Outlined below are four key activity areas that  requires responsibility, time and effort from a caregiver. Many of these activities are best provided by a from trained professional, including home health care aides. Ask your senior loved one’s medical professionals which ones should be addressed and also work with your senior to make sure all important paperwork is in order.

Health Care Tasks

  • Change dressings
  • Monitor vital signs
  • Maintain a schedule of health care visits and appointments
  • Learn how to operate any medical equipment such as a wheelchair, IV or oxygen system coming home with your senior
  • Assist with personal hygiene
  • Prepare special meals such as liquid-only diets

Medication Management

  • Order and pick up prescriptions and refills
  • Monitor for side effects
  • Store and dispose of medications properly and safely
  • Understand all medication labels, instructions and expiration dates
  • Administer the correct medication at the right time and organize into a pill box
  • Use a medication tracking worksheet  to record all medications

Family Communications

  • Prepare and maintain emergency and medical contact lists
  • Pay medical and other bills
  • Communicate frequently with family members including providing instructions and training
  • Assemble and store important documents like those listed below in a senior emergency kit (contact our office to receive your free kit):
    • Advance Directive
    • Living Will/Standard Will
    • Health Care/Financial Power of Attorney
    • Insurance and Financial Documents

Household Management

  • Conduct safety checks
  • Purchase the food and supplies they senior needs to stay healthy. Download your free dietary guide plan.
  • Greet and supervise visiting health care and home care professionals
  • Purchase medical supplies and equipment

Some items, such as walkers, wheelchairs and hospital beds, are reusable and considered “durable medical equipment.”  Medicare Part B covers the cost of this equipment as long as it’s deemed medically necessary. Some of the more expensive items may be rented instead of purchased. In fact, rental might be required by Medicare. If the budget is tight, consider seeking assistance from Veteran’s associations, healthcare foundations and other state and local nonprofits.

Even before your senior loved one returns to their Minnesota home, check both inside and outside the house for hidden dangers.

Outside, clear any debris from walkways and stairs. Also check hand rails to make sure they’re steady and free of chips or splinters. Remove door mats that might cause your senior to trip. Light bulbs should be in working order and bright enough.

There are many safety considerations inside the house as well:

When your senior loved returns to their home in Minneapolis or St. Paul, he or she may be a bit disoriented. To make help make things clearer for them install large red and blue buttons over hot and cold water faucet controls to prevent dangerous mistakes. A dark green or brown toilet seat and vinyl tape around the shower will make those fixtures more easily distinguishable. To make getting up easier, consider installing grab bars or a raised toilet seat. And safety devices, such as lock-in switches on stoves and thermostats can prevent burns and fires from occurring.

If you are considering hiring help from a Minneapolis in-home care agency, be sure to discuss the above considerations with them. They’ll be able to assist in making sure your loved one’s care plan is complete and appropriately carried out. There are many different caregiver situations that might arise, so having a plan of care will go a long way to help ensure that family members are well prepared.