Safely transitioning home after surgery for older adults

Safely transitioning home after surgery for older adults

May 27, 2020
Dwell Care home care helping on stairs

There is no denying it, transitions are moments of vulnerability to everyone.

Whether you are moving to a new home or city, the whole family is always on edge. Perhaps switching your line of work, stress levels are off the charts because so many people depend on you. The effects of transition are undeniable and reach every area of our lives, including health. The change of a hospital to home is, particularly of paramount importance because it is a physical, emotional, and mental journey. It can mean the end of a lengthy procedure in the hospital and can have a tremendous emotional impact. Home, a place that may now feel unfamiliar after being away from it for so long, can have a psychological effect that should not be taken lightly. Without proper care, these vulnerable moments have costly aftermaths, both physically and even financially. 

Why is great home care after a discharge from a hospital or skilled nursing facility so important?

 Transitions are seasons of life that can not be overlooked and, therefore, often require community help. The training of a caregiver reestablishes normalcy in the life of a former hospital patient. This, in return, builds the person’s self-value, confidence, and redirects their life in a positive direction. It is vital to first and foremost accept that the journey of restoration is not over. Like all transitions, it is natural for a merger of two sides to occur, and that is to maintain the individual as healthy as can be. Unexpected changes can cause a bit of a shock, which is a risk for any person in a vulnerable position, like a discharge. 

What is a qualified caregiver’s role in transitional care?

 Caregivers are aware of the importance of a good transition from hospital to home. The first thing a caregiver should be providing is a sense of security; this is not imposed but offered, which builds trust. This is the first sign of change for a former patient, gently reassuring them that things will change and improve. Patients are not in charge within hospitals and rightly so, on the other hand, caregivers are present to assist in a patient’s individual journey to recovery. The experience of a caregiver also provides a more practical aspect of transition, such as household care, cooking, doing laundry, and delivering groceries. Creating a healthy and normal environment for a patient is a strong motive to do their crucial role in achieving full recovery. These physical activities of a caregiver also double as emotional care, creating an atmosphere of productivity and progress, which always brings an emotional sense of achievement.

Benefits of great post-op transitional care?

 The benefits of a good transition range from physical recovery to financial stability. Here are a couple of crucial advantages of great transitional care:

  • Dwell Care and Caregivers are a part of the care team in the incident of a medical procedure. We provide essential recovery progress information to patients’ doctors, physicians, or physical therapists to reassure everyone is well informed to the progress of recovery. 
  • Readmission costs into hospitals are expensive, and caregivers are there to avoid any unnecessary bills.
  • We know that taking the responsibility of a caregiver for a loved one can be strenuous work. Caregivers are there to serve you and your loved ones by taking on that extra responsibility. 
  • Caregivers are available to help discharged patients during their irregular sleep hours or recovery plans. This is often the case, especially after lengthy procedures. Loved ones might consider this an impossible commitment while already having busy schedules.
  • Doctors often give strict diet changes for discharged patients making meal preps crucial for recovery. Trained caregivers can provide the attention to detail needed when preparing meals and assist when it comes to mealtimes.
  • Beginning life outside of the hospital can mean being responsible for one’s own medication. Caregivers can remind patients of all necessary medication to continue in their path of recovery. 
  • Fall prevention is one of the most common hazards after being discharged. The caregiver assists all patients in methods that keep their dignity intact and instill confidence in their progress. 
  • Caregivers are qualified to assist clients in maintaining prescribed exercise routines by their physical therapy. We understand that being diligent in these routines sustains a high momentum towards their full recovery, and we let the patient know. 
  • Emotional support and positivity can often be overlooked when under pressure. The caregiver understands that how something is being done is just as important as what is being done. Appointments with caregivers should be something that patients look forward to.
  • Caregivers are trained to assist with basic needs like showering and hygiene while maintaining the patient’s dignity, confidence, and self-esteem. 
  • Transportation and accompaniment should not be the responsibility of someone in a vulnerable state of transition. Trained caregivers offer secure transportation and assistance when it comes to getting into and out of vehicles. 
  • Tidying up and cleaning the house is not underestimated by caregivers. A safe environment minimizes fall hazards and creates a better working environment for all. 
  • Caregivers understand that they do not work alone but assist the family in caring for their loved ones. Status reporting and sharing vital information is a priority to a caregiver. A caregiver’s job is to communicate and make the journey to recovery as stress-free as possible. 
  • Pet care can be urgent to discharged patients, especially after being far from them for so long. Caregivers do their best to empathize and show the patient’s care to their pets.  

Handling the stress of caring for a family member post hospitalization:

 Being with a loved one from the moment they are admitted into the hospital to settling back home is hard work. It is emotionally and physically draining because one not only had to care for oneself but for their loved one. The stress is undeniable, and it is coming from every angle. The first step to alleviating this pressure is to share the load. You are not alone in caring, and you are not the only one able to help. Reach out to family and friends. Perhaps they are not able to assist in the same way you are, but there are friends willing to help you in helping your loved one.

This may look like:

  • providing meals,
  • offering baby-sitting,
  • house-sitting,
  • helping with errands,
  • or simply listening.

Build a community; this often begins with communication. Being a caregiver is not easy, but it is also not meant to be done alone. 

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