When a Senior is Suddenly Hospitalized

Hello, Welcome to the Evolve Senior Solutions, LLC blog by A RN: Disclosed also known as Danielle Harris.

For this blog post, I want to discuss hospitalization. At times it is unavoidable. But mostly it is preventable. Some keys include: managing chronic conditions, medication management, remaining active, keeping up to date with recommended screenings and vaccines, and keeping up with appointments. During all times, always wash your hands, cover your cough, cover your sneeze, and stay away from sick people. Yes, those are some basic items but, those basic items have been proven by science - that those basic items keeps us all healthy.

In the event of hospitalization, it is best to have some documents ready because you never know what could happen: (you keep the original, everyone else gets a copy) 

• Health care proxy/durable health power-of-attorney – this determines who makes decisions for you when you no longer can  
Authorization to release health-care information (HIPPA regulations) – who can be updated on your conditions 
• Living will/healthcare directive – what are your wishes 
• Personal medical history – what you have been diagnosed with, this may impact your treatment plan 
• List of medications - what you have been taking, this may impact your treatment plan
• List of providers – who you need to follow up with, sometimes the MDs in the hospital will reach out to your outpatient providers, if they need further clarification on a condition or treatment plan
• Insurance card – who will help you cover the costs 
• Long-term care insurance policy –  you may need to file a claim to support you, once you return home, like home care assistance 

Preparing for open communication with the hospital staff
• Ensure your loved ones (spouse, caregiver, emergency person) contact information is on file in the record and the staff knows that you have approved that person to have updates on your condition/status
• Write down the primary hospital doctor (typically known as a hospitalists) and the names of any specialists on the care team
• Write down the case manager / discharge planners name
• Write down any questions you have beforehand so that you don’t forget them – confirm the time the MDs typically comes around, be prepared to be there at that time 

Paying for their care
• If your loved one, has been considering applying for Medicaid, the best time to do so, is while in the hospital, so that you and your loved one can get the support you need with the application
• Determine whether your loved one is under Observation or Admitted – this can cause a large difference in the bill you will get after the care is complete 

Preparing for discharge 
• Think of the equipment your loved one needed, before they were hospitalized, they will definitely need that equipment once they discharge, speak to the discharge planner
• If there were issues with cost/price of prescription medications before they hospitalized, that issue will still be there, and more medications maybe added on, so speak with discharge planner 
• The level of care your loved one requires will determine where they will be discharged to – some options are home with home health, home, (home with you and home care) acute rehab, long term acute care, or skilled nursing rehab Ideally, your loved one will be stabilized and deemed safe to return to their home without any major changes to their lifestyle, but that is not always the case

Educating yourself on medical condition
• Write down any questions you have beforehand so that you don’t forget them – confirm the time the MDs typically comes around, be prepared to be there at that time 
• Learn all you can about their medical conditions and the medications they are taking – this will make you a solid member of their care team
• Before discharge, ask the nurse or discharge planner to print out some reputable resources for you to take home with you

Getting support
• Contact your local Area Agency on Aging to find out what resources are available
• Take advantage of in-person and online Caregiver Support Groups, where you can ask questions about your situation and receive answers and emotional support from fellow caregivers who have been in your shoes

As always, I am here to serve, educate, and empower - so feel free to connect! 

🔆        💗        🐘

Thank you for reading, the official Evolve Senior Solutions, LLC blog by Danielle Harris, MSN, BSN, RN, CMC, CDP also known as A RN: Disclosed!

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