Are you prepared when a senior is unexpectedly hospitalized?
Some of the most common reasons seniors go into the hospital are due to unplanned health emergencies: urinary tract infections, stroke, hip fracture, and pneumonia.
Learn what things you should do before a senior has a health scare today!
1. Have Their Medication List Ready
What over-the-counter and prescription medications do they need every day?
Keep a physical list of their medications with information like the name of the medication, the dosage, and its purpose.
You may also want to note what the instructions are for consumption.
If you prefer to keep digital records, apps like Medisafe can help you create medication lists easily on your smartphone.
Medisafe’s database has most over-the-counter and prescription medication readily available for search, allowing you to keep track of everything a senior takes.
It also allows for medication reminders that can help a senior or their caregiver stay up to date.
A great feature from Medisafe is to be able to visually see your virtual pillbox so seniors can see when they need to take their medication.
2. List Their Medical Specialists
Do they see a medical specialist?
Keep a record of their contact information, address, and their specialty.
You can see a full list of medical specialists provided by James Madison University and what they do here.
Knowing the names and contact information of their medical specialists can ensure they get the proper medical treatment as soon as possible.
3. Know Their Medical History
If you’re in charge of managing the senior’s care, it’s essential to know their medical history.
The National Institute of Health says it’s important to know their family history because:
- Families have many factors in common, including their genes, environment, and lifestyle. Together, these factors can give clues to medical conditions that may run in a family. By noticing patterns of disorders among relatives, healthcare professionals can determine whether an individual, other family members, or future generations may be at an increased risk of developing a particular condition.
By knowing their medical history, they can receive much needed care more quickly and effectively.
This online tool from the Surgeon General lets you easily document their family medical history.
4. Preparing for a Safe Transition Back Home
The transition back home after a hospitalization is often more challenging than families anticipate.
You should start planning for their love one’s discharge on the same day they are admitted into the hospital.
Elder Care Locator says that it’s common for seniors to struggle with things like taking medications on time and following up with doctor’s appointments after a recent hospitalization.
Here are some questions that you should be thinking about:
- What will the senior’s living arrangements be when they are discharged??
- Will they return to their own home?
- A family member’s home?
- A rehab facility?
- Will the senior need help getting to doctor appointments?
- What about to the pharmacy or grocery store?
- Will the senior need help with activities of daily living?
- Will they need assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, grooming, feeding, or meal preparation?
- Are they going to get help from a family member or home health aide?
- How long will the senior need help for?
For more resources on a smooth transition home after a hospitalization, visit Next Step in Care.
This program funded by the United Hospital Fund helps family members and health care providers plan and implement safe transitions for chronically or seriously ill patients.
5. Other Things Seniors Should Have
Hospital visits and health emergencies for seniors are scary.
Here is a list of things that seniors can have in their “hospital kit”:
- Insurance information and identification card
- Emergency contact numbers
- Test reports, lab results, copies of recent x-rays
- Allergy information
- Important legal documents for seniors like power of attorney and advanced directives
- Bring glasses, dentures, hearing aids, etc.
Seniors should also not have any valuable items with them while at the hospital!
Does Your Client Need Help Transitioning Safely Back Home?
Senior Home Care Services can help your client safely transition back home after rehab. Call our nationally accredited care team today (973) 538-4357!