Ongoing Care For Your Loved Ones
If your loved one is being discharged from hospital or is finding it harder to cope after an injury or illness, then it may be time to consider how to address the issue of ongoing care for older people. This could take place in their own home or in a care home and be provided in a variety of ways, such as through adaptations and mobility aids, district nursing care or other methods.
Home Alterations and Mobility Aids
An occupational therapist, or OT, can carry out an assessment if your relative or friend might benefit from home equipment or adaptations as a result of mobility issues. A key worker, liaison nurse or ward nurse in hospital can arrange an OT visit if needed, and then a home visit can be carried out to look at the sort of mobility problems which may arise. You can be there at this visit if your loved one wants you to be, and the OT will then arrange for the provision of any necessary equipment once your relative or friend is discharged.
If there has been a change in needs, your loved one may be entitled to additional allowances or benefits – something which may be useful if they find that they have to pay for some of the services or equipment that they need as part of their ongoing care. What your relative or friend has to pay will depend on factors looked at in their needs assessment.
Help Available After a Hospital Discharge
There are a variety of social care and healthcare professionals who may offer support and help for your friend or relative when they leave hospital as part of an older people care package. If a number of professionals are involved, it is important to ensure that their efforts complement each other and to make sure you have just one contact point.
District nursing care may be appropriate, and these professionals can visit your relative regularly to offer both advice and practical services, such as administering injections and changing dressings. District nurses are also able to arrange the provision of some equipment such as special mattresses, bedpans and commodes.
If district nursing care is required, the discharge coordinator or ward nurse should arrange for this ongoing care of older people before your relative leaves hospital, and care information should be sent to the district nursing team.
Your relative may be given a letter to pass on to their GP when they leave hospital, detailing things such as previous treatment along with future care needs and medication requirements. If no letter is provided, check that the relevant information has been passed on by the hospital team.
Medication After a Hospital Stay
The doctors at the hospital should arrange for your loved one to have a week to a fortnight’s worth of any required medication, and it is important that your relative understands when and how this should be taken, along with any potential side effects.
Make sure that you know who should be contacted in the event of any questions or issues relating to the medication and that your loved one has provisions in place to ensure that they can access repeat prescriptions when required. This forms a vital part of the ongoing care for older people.