Transitioning Home After Leaving A Medical Facility

Having a senior parent move back home after being in a medical facility, can be difficult.  Hopefully these tips will help ease the transition and make the adjustment a little bit easier.

1).  Plan ahead.

          Check to see if the medical facility that your loved one is leaving has a discharge program or information about how to go forward with them living at home.   A lot of facilities do have information and support systems in place.  Be sure to ask any questions that you may have or voice any concerns that you have been made aware of.

            Make sure you know as much as possible about your loved ones illness.  Know what to look for in case their illness gets worse and how it will progress.  

            Know their medications.  Make sure you know the type/time of medication(s) that your loved one is on when they leave the facility as well as how they will interact with other medication(s) that may be home administered (herbal, over the counter advil/tylenol, etc.).  Also see what the possible side effects would be and how they could be managed.

            Check to see if accomodations need to be made to the home that your loved one is going to.  Does a wheelchair ramp need to be installed?  Do railings need to be put in? Do pets need to be worked with? 

            Ask to see how many appointments need to be made and followed up with.  If you do not drive, make sure appropriate travel arrangements are made ahead of time so you are not scrambling last minute. 

            If your loved one is going from a medical facility like a hospital to an assisted living facility, make sure you do the proper investigation to make sure you choose the best fit.

            If you are opting out of receiving a homecare service and a family member/friend is going to do it instead, does the family member/friend understand what is needed of them and what the job entails?

           Make sure there is a clear line of communication between yourself, your loved one and others involved to make an easy transition and no hard feelings.


2).   Maintain Realistic Expectations

           Patients and family members usually expect a full recovery from a hospital stay.  Both parties expect the hospitalized individual to return back to their pre hospital self.  Unfortunately, that is not always the outcome.  Coming out of a hospital stay may lead to adjustments in dietary modifications or exercise.  Expecting the ultimate best out of a situation where your loved one is coming out of a medical facility and expecting a full recovery could lead to depression and disappointment with self.  Maintaining a realistic expectation on all sides will be beneficial to all but make sure that all the proper therapies will be followed.


3).  Know The Challenges So You Can Prepare And Potentially Avoid Them

            Some of these challenges may present themselves once your loved one returns home.  Try to get ahead of the game and answer some of the challenges to make sure a good plan is in place.

            Medication errors -- know who to call and what to do if a medication error is done.  If your loved one is not taking their medications, what is the follow up?

            What are your expectations for a home caregiver service? What are you needing for service? 

            Is a family member willing to help out or do you need to hire a caregiver service?

            What will you do as your loved one needs more care? 

            How will care be paid?

            Does insurance pay for part or full of services?

            Did you ask the right questions? If you feel you didn't or not sure of what questions to ask, write them down so you don't forget and go over the list before you meet with your loved ones medical professional or the team that is getting ready to discharge them from their medical facility.


Hopefully these tips and suggestions will help with the transition from a medical facility to home a smooth one.

Do not be afraid to ask any questions or a lot of questions.  There are no stupid or silly questions, the only bad question is the one unasked.  It is better to have too much information then not enough.