Watching over your parent in the hospital is stressful. You’re there as much as you can be while keeping all the plates in your life spinning. When it’s time for your parent to come home it can be exciting and terrifying at the same time. Your endless hours at the hospital are ending but what exactly are your parent’s needs and which nursing home care is best?
Your parent will be assigned a social worker while in the hospital. One of the social worker’s main jobs will be to coordinate a smooth transition home or to the next step in your parent’s recovery such as nursing home care.
During the course of your parent’s hospital stay you are probably accumulating a long list of questions and concerns. Some questions will naturally be resolved as your parent continues to improve but new questions about your parent’s elder health care needs must be discussed with the social worker.
When it’s time for your parent to be discharged from the hospital:
- Join the elder health care discussion with your parent’s permission by being a part of the discharge conversations. Coach your parent to tell the social worker that you must be present at all meetings.
- Make sure the social worker understands the level your parent functioned at before being hospitalized since they are meeting your parent in a weakened and possibly confused state.
- Share your parent’s goals for recovery.
- Ask the social worker to describe what types of support your parent will need. Even if you can offer some of the support yourself, using outside services can reduce stress.
The burden of selecting nursing home care will fall to you. When a good friend was recently discharged to skilled nursing we received a list of fifteen nursing homes to choose from. Her social worker was not permitted to tell us which were the best places. She did bend the rules to give us some clues about less desirable facilities
I tackled the list by looking up all the suggestions we received on the Medicare website to see each facility’s ratings. We talked with people we knew who had recently received nursing home care. If they were satisfied, the facility stayed on our list. Finally we visited some places ourselves to see what we thought. Luckily we had a few days to make a choice.
Be warned that often discharge comes up very suddenly. To save time and stress when your parent has elective surgery, you can do your research in advance. Be sure to have a first, second and third choice, in case beds are not available at your first or second choice on the day your parent is discharged.
Has your parent recently been in the hospital? What were your experiences finding nursing home care?
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