Hospital stays end with the discharge, correct? Not always.
The reality: Poorly understood care instructions and/or inadequate care are the prime causes for readmissions to hospitals. Following the detailed care guidelines outlined by the hospital staff is critical to achieving a full recovery.
When an elderly person has experienced an illness or undergone surgery, are they going to recall the details of their discharge? Their thinking is likely clouded by anesthesia, pain medication and sheer exhaustion.
Are they equipped to make critical decisions about their transition of care? Most likely not.
We’ve all heard “it takes a village.” This is particularly true for elders experiencing a health crisis. It is my belief that no matter the age, hospital stays require an advocate: someone of sound mind, someone who can ask questions and take written notes, a competent spouse, caring family members or even hired professionals to serve as our sounding boards and advocates.
The discharge process
First of all, the discharge process is not the 15 minutes prior to heading out the hospital door. Over the course of a day or two, discharge planners initiate conversations that assist with transitioning from hospital care to our next stage of care. It’s important that family members or an advocate be part of these discussions. The planner suggests care options and lays out guidelines.
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