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Planning home elderly care after the hospital

If your elderly loved one is being discharged from the hospital, read about these tips to arrange hospital care after they are discharged.

December 07, 2022

Elderly person being discharged from hospital

If your elderly loved one has been in the hospital and is ready to be discharged, it’s very common to have mixed feelings about what comes next.

It’s often a big relief for someone to come home from the hospital, back to their own environment where they feel comfortable and are surrounded by their own things. But if they live independently, it can be a major concern for them, as well as family members and friends - especially worrying about how they’ll manage and what can be done to help keep them safe and well.

In this article, we share some steps you can take before an older relative is discharged from the hospital to help ensure they have the support they need at home, and you have peace of mind when you can’t be with them.

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What happens when an elderly person is discharged from the hospital?

Some older people leaving the hospital may need assistance with many aspects of daily living and require the help of carers several times a day. Others might not need any formal care once they are discharged.

If someone likely needs support or additional help once they’re back home, they can only be discharged from the hospital when a plan for that care is in place. For an elderly person that lives independently, and in many cases alone, there needs to be a discharge plan so that they can safely return home.

An ongoing care or discharge plan begins with an assessment where you’ll agree a care plan together with the nurse or doctor responsible.

It usually includes things like:

  • The details and contact information of who will be managing any care requirements
  • Details of when and how often they’ll need care and/or support
  • What treatment and/or care is needed when they get home

Elderly people leaving the hospital to go back home may have a range of different care needs and require varying levels of support, including:

  • Help with mobility and more personal or sensitive tasks like bathing, getting dressed or eating
  • Keeping on top of daily chores and housework – like laundry, cooking, and cleaning
  • Managing their money, bills, and other services
  • Food shopping, collecting medicines and things that mean they’ll need transport or help with heavy lifting
  • Supporting their wellbeing, for example, providing emotional support if they’re more anxious or experiencing any challenges with their mental health.

The stay in the hospital or medical factors might mean that they are more at risk of a fall than before. This could be the case if they have become frailer, have started to have balance issues, or even changes to their medication since they were last living at home. It can be a real worry for the older person themselves, as well as for their loved ones, as staying at home and staying well is so important. 

As you may have seen in the news recently, one of the issues contributing to long waiting times at hospitals is that many patients already in the hospital are medically ready to be discharged. Still, the right care for them afterwards cannot be organised. There are many contributing factors to this, one of which is the strain on the social care system.

 

Elderly man with blood pressure test

Checklist: What you’ll need for your elderly loved one’s hospital discharge

It’s very common for family members to get involved as much as possible when it comes to an elderly loved one’s discharge from hospital, even if they live on their own and will continue to do so.

Some of the practical considerations that will usually be discussed with hospital staff, the patient and their family include:

  • That they have clothes to travel home from hospital in
  • That appropriate transport home is organised
  • That any immediate care needs once they’re home are arranged e.g. help with shopping or other domestic tasks
  • That any medications required are explained fully and there is a supply to take home
  • That they are comfortable using any new equipment provided e.g. mobility aids
  • That the GP is informed about the hospital discharge.

 

What help is available with ongoing home care once discharged from hospital?

Depending on what the home care needs are, there’s a variety of types of home care available, including:

  • Live-in care
  • Personal care
  • Overnight care
  • Respite care
  • Incontinence care
  • Medication management
  • Domiciliary care
  • Dementia care

Many areas have local charities or organisations that can assist with practical matters such as helping around the house for a few weeks after coming home from hospital.

If the elderly person is expected to have some ongoing care needs, they will need care needs assessment from your local council shortly after discharge in their home, to see what their needs are and what can be arranged to meet them.

In some cases, family members, friends or neighbours might be able to fulfil some or all those needs, or it might be that professional care assistance is needed. Depending on the circumstances, there may be help available with funding care or it might be that private care needs to be arranged.

Home care can range from regular visits from carers to help with some of the things that the elderly person now finds more challenging to do, right through to live-in care for those with more complex needs.

 

Lady with mum

The role a monitored personal alarm can play after hospital discharge

Older people often become a little frailer after a hospital stay, which could leave them a more at risk than previously. So, a common concern from friends or family about their elderly loved one being discharged from hospital is that they might have a fall or another kind of accident whilst on their own.

A monitored in-home personal alarm could be an ideal solution to bring peace of mind for everyone that if something does happen, help is at hand, 24-hours a day.

This kind of device is worn at all times, usually as a pendant around the neck, or like a watch, so that the single large help button can be pressed if there is an incident at home and they will immediately be connected to the specialist team at our UK-based resolution centres, day or night, for assistance.

There are many different types of personal alarm, with a variety of features that you might find useful, such as alarms that can detect a fall automatically, so the help button doesn’t even need to be pressed to raise an alert. Another option could be a digital personal alarm or digital fall alarm that doesn’t require a landline to work.

View the full range of personal alarms

 

Elderly man with wallking stick

How can I help my elderly parent stay at home?

Helping elderly parents live the life they want can be pretty challenging for family members. Finding the right balance of support that enables your relative to keep their independence and stay in their home safely can be challenging.


However, some measures can be taken to help with this, including:

  • Carry out a risk assessment of the situation to help highlight any potential areas of concern that you might not already be aware of
  • Ensure that trip hazards around the home and garden are removed or made safe
  • Install adequate lighting to minimise the risk of trips and falls
  • See if the bathroom needs any modifications
  • Consider a personal alarm service to provide 24/7 help in case of an emergency.

Advice about personal alarms

If you would like any more information on our personal alarms or would like to discuss which kind of device might be best suited to your circumstances, get in touch with our Independent Living Advisors on 0800 085 7371.Lines are open Monday to Saturday, 8am - 5pm.

Freephone 0800 085 7371

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

Download brochure

Ways to support independent living

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

Download brochure


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