When an older adult has to stay in the hospital, it can be frightening and confusing for them.
As a caregiver, you can provide them the extra support they may need during a hospital stay. Having a caregiver who acts as an advocate and ensures doctors have all the information they need about the senior can reduce the chances of complications that can occur. Below are some suggestions for ways caregivers can offer support to their elderly family members while they are in the hospital.
Supply Medical History
Your aging relative may have trouble communicating their medical history. Caregivers can help by supplying doctors with the information. Consider creating a file that contains notes on the senior’s health history, the medications they take, and any special needs they have. Provide this information to the older adult’s medical team.
It can be helpful to have someone the senior knows with them as often as possible. This does not mean the primary caregiver has to stay at the hospital for the duration of the stay. But, you can help to coordinate visitors so that someone is there most of the time. Call family members and friends and ask them to come to the hospital during certain hours. If the senior would benefit from a visit from their clergy person, call their place of worship and arrange for a visit.
Keep the Older Adult Comfortable
Bringing the senior some items from home can make them feel more comfortable. Some things you might bring are a device to play music on, books or magazines to read, a bathrobe, and warm socks. If the hospital will allow it, bring a favorite blanket from home.
Your loved one may feel uncertain about the future and frightened about what happens next. Reassure them that they will have the help they need, no matter what the outcome of their hospital stay is. Remind them that you care about them and so do other family caregivers. Be positive about the future. If the older adult has a tendency to dwell on their worries, it can help to distract them by talking about other things, playing a game, or watching television with them.
Plan for What Will Happen After the Hospital Stay
Time in the hospital can signify changing care needs. The older adult may need more help at home. Family caregivers may no longer be able to handle the duty on their own. If that’s the case, consider contacting a home care agency to hire in-home help for those times when family caregivers are not available.