How to prepare for being discharged from hospital

If you have a loved one that is currently in hospital, the prospect of them being coming home should be a joyous occasion.  But unfortunately being discharged from hospital can be a daunting prospect for many families with elderly relatives.

If the patient has had a fall, suffered a stroke or even just something as simple as an infection, arranging a safe discharge can be hard work. 

We’ve put together some useful tips to follow so you can make sure your family member is discharged from hospital to a safe environment:

Making changes at home

If your loved one has suffered a fall or has found that their mobility has been limited since being admitted to hospital, navigating around their home again can be difficult. 

Some families may have their elderly relatives stay with them during the recovery process, but this isn’t always practical.  If they are going back home then it’s worth doing a risk assessment of their home to see if there are any modifications (minor or major) that could be made to make it a little safer.   

For someone recovering from a fall, or with reduced mobility, they may find it a struggle to use the staircase.  If extra assistance is required, you may want to look at getting safety equipment installed such as grab bars, handrails etc.  If mobility issues are likely to be long term, then items such as a stair lift may be something to consider if upheaval of moving home is too much to consider.

Preventing falls

Falls are one of the most common reasons for elderly people to be admitted to hospital.  As we get older, falls become much more serious and can lead to fractures, head trauma or worse so it’s important to try and prevent these from happening in the first place.

Make sure that any trip hazards are removed from the home – these can include clutter on the floor, loose rugs, trailing cables.  

Vision can be poor in older people so lighting should be consistent throughout the home. 

If necessary, handrails could be installed throughout the home to aid balance.

Follow up correct procedures with medical staff

When a patient is discharged from hospital, they should be given a discharge note which includes any prescribed medicine, equipment or general self-care advice.  If you are present, this is an ideal opportunity to ask any further questions to the medical staff.  However, if you still have questions following the discharge, you can still get back in touch with the ward staff to check anything you are unsure of. 

Re-admissions often occur because of medicine mix-ups – either taking too much or forgetting to take any at all.  Coordinating medicines isn’t always easy when there are lots to take.  Pill reminder boxes are always useful, as are audible alarms from your smartphone or even a smart speaker device like Alexa.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Supporting a loved one when they have come out of hospital can often be a full-time job.  Don’t be scared to ask for help from friends and family if you are struggling, even if it’s just to help out with kids for a few hours or grab some supplies from the supermarket. 

If your loved one is going to need longer-term help, then you may want to consider bringing in outside care.  Having someone to assist you can help to ease some of the strain and time pressures on yourself.   

A CAREGiver can help with any number of tasks that your family member needs additional support with, whether that’s personal care, household chores, shopping, pet care or medication prompts.  They can also provide much needed company – something which shouldn’t be overlooked for anyone coming out of hospital.  Looking after your loved one’s mental wellness can as beneficial to their recovery as much as their physical health.

Home Instead provides home care across Wrexham & Flintshire.  If you have a family member who is being discharged from hospital and you’re thinking about putting additional support in place at home then please get in touch to find out more about the services we provide.