Mom is home from the hospital, now what?

Once a loved one comes home from a Minneapolis hospital, family caregivers soon realize that reaching a nurse with a push of a button or accessing the social worker down the hall is a thing of the past. Now, it’s time for medication reminders, transitional care & doctor appointments. But, you’re not alone! Family members, neighbors & professional home care providers are usually willing to provide assistance, they just need assembled & organized. Most faith communities have a parish nurse or care team that are just a phone call away. And Home Instead CAREGivers can provide a consistent level of compassionate care while you get some respite. Before you start your calling tree, ask the senior how much information they’re comfortable sharing about their health. Find out if they have certain people they’re more comfortable with doing personal tasks like washing their hair or providing assistance dressing. Once you have your list ready, it’s time to access some caregiving help.

Often times, family conflicts or even sibling rivalry can get in the way of caregivers asking for help which can lead to hostility or caregiver burnout. To avoid this situation (or at least get through it), watch Laurie Owen, a trainer with Home Instead Senior Care, as she covers “The 50/50 Rule: Managing Sibling Dynamics.

Maybe one of your siblings has volunteered to drive your Mom to medical appointments. This is a crucial task  in order to keep her recovery on track. To bridge the communication between yourself, your siblings and possibly a home care provider, keep a large desk or wall calendar handy and write in follow-up visits using a bright colored ink such as red or green. It’s also good to keep the appointment calendar by the phone so as new appointments are scheduled they can be easily added in. Before going to the doctor’s office or other follow-up appointment in the Minneapolis area, make sure your senior has a current list of all prescriptions, over the counter medications and supplements they are taking. You should also make sure they have a list of any symptoms they are experiencing such as nausea, constipation, breathing difficulties, rashes, lack of appetite, etc.

create-plan-of-care-480x450Once at the doctor’s office, the National Transitions of Care Coalition advises that it’s important for your senior to ask several questions including:

  • Why am I meeting with a health care provider today?
  • Should I see another health care provider?
  • What medical conditions do I have?
  • What else do I need to do?
  • May I have a print out of any newly scheduled or upcoming follow-up visits?
  • Do all of my doctors have my medical care or discharge plan?
  • Who should I call if I have questions or problems?

Use this doctor’s visit worksheet (PDF 600k) to keep track of the information you need both before and after your visit.


From the excitement of your senior loved one leaving their Minnesota hospital to the hectic pace of providing constant care, you may have forgotten about the most important person in this process…you! Even a fully prepared family caregiver can get overwhelmed with creating the plan of care, learning about medications and making sure the proper foods are in the refrigerator. Home Instead Senior Care is here to help. If you can break away for an in-person workshop, you’re sure to enjoy our Family Caregiver Training Workshop held at the Home Instead Minneapolis office. We could even provide home care assistance while you attend! If you prefer a webinar, view these topics ranging from caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease to understanding Diabetes.

Focusing on the specific needs of your loved one and accurately following the doctor’s discharge instructions is critical to a successful recovery. Monitoring care once the senior has returned home by documenting progress and warning signs will help limit the risk of readmission. This will also help “share the care” with family members, neighbors & home health care professionals.