When your senior loved one is discharged from a Michigan hospital, they may have a long road to recovery ahead. Depending on the illness, injury or treatment, it could take anywhere from a few weeks to several months before your aging parent has regained their independence.

In order to heal, they will not only need assistance with healthcare, but also with everyday tasks like bathing, dressing and meal preparation. Your loved one may get this care temporarily in a rehabilitation center, but will also need extra help in their home or in a respite care at an assisted-living community

Being involved in their care before and after discharge can help ensure that they recuperate and return to their daily routine as soon as possible.

The first step

Recovery from a hospital occurs in several stages. If your aging parent is doing well, the hospital may discharge them directly into home care, where family will be responsible for supervising their recovery. Because this situation is not always best for the senior, many are transferred to a short-term rehabilitation center, where they can receive 24-hour skilled nursing services, as well physical, speech and occupational therapy. If the senior meets the criteria, Medicare will cover up to 100 days in one of these skilled nursing communities.

The discharge plan

As soon as your aging parent is admitted, the staff begins discharge planning. When a team of caregivers determines that your senior is healthy enough for release, they will call a meeting and provide options for the family to investigate and consider.

Use a Discharge Planning Checklist to help you prepare for the meeting. It will make it easier for you to have all the information discharge planners need to assess your senior loved one’s care and home environment.

If you aren’t certain if your senior loved one will be safe at home, be sure to share your concerns with the discharge team. They can share resources, offer support and possibly alter their plan. You can also appeal a Medicare discharge decision and request a reassessment.

What’s next?

Once a senior in your care is released from a hospital or rehab center, you will need to decide the best approach for making a full recovery. You will have several choices to consider:

1) Home care administered by family. This will require that you wear many hats as you take on a nursing role. You may need to administer medications, care for wounds, and oversee exercise, as well as bathing, dressing, meals and housecleaning. If your loved one lives alone, you may need to stay with them until they are in better health.

2) In-home care. You might consider hiring a visiting nurse or a private duty aide to lighten your load. A qualified caregiver can make recovery easier on your senior loved one and on you. If a physician orders skilled home health care, it will typically be covered by Medicare. Otherwise, your loved one will have to pay out of pocket.

3) In-home therapy or outpatient therapy. If your loved one needs therapy to build muscle strength, recover lost speech skills, or to re-learn ordinary tasks, a physician may order in-home therapy or outpatient therapy. With a physician’s order, both are usually covered by a senior’s Medicare.

4) Respite Care: You may want to consider a short-term stay at an assisted living community if your loved one is not ready to return home alone after a hospitalization. This allows them to live in a safe and comfortable home-like environment where they can get 24-assistance with care tasks. They can also receive therapy services through a skilled home health agency while they are recovering at an assisted living community.

If you are considering respite care for your recovering senior loved one in the Great Lakes State, call the Heritage Senior Community nearest you.

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