Sarah Benbow, Executive Director of Communications | Sep 25, 2023
As a discharge planner, caregiver, and advocate for older adults, matching your patients with the proper care solution can be challenging. When an individual needs to transition — whether it is to short-term care, rehabilitation programs, or long-term care — consider the following elements. Paying particular attention to the items listed below can help ensure the seniors you work with feel informed and confident throughout the process.
Senior discharge planning involves coordinating a safe and smooth transition from a hospital or other healthcare facility to an individual's home or appropriate care setting. It's a comprehensive plan accounting for one's medical needs, functional abilities, social support, and available resources during recovery.
A typical discharge plan for older adults aims to ensure they receive the necessary care and support after leaving the hospital by arranging for things like:
Before discussing community options, it is vital to communicate what level of care is needed clearly. Beyond questions about medication, treatment plans, and current mobility, be sure to discuss equipment needs, mental health, health history, and future needs. These conversations help your patient understand the many variables at play.
When you’re ready to look at care options, your patient's needs will determine the types of senior living communities available. Here are a few examples:
Providing accurate, realistic options is most successful when your patient is well-acquainted with how their needs and care options are related.
Being honest, realistic, and open with your patient about the best options is key. The transition process will move more smoothly by paying particular attention to the following:
Discuss the area or neighborhoods surrounding the senior living communities you're considering. Is staying in a familiar suburb important? Is being closer to a family member, child, or friend a top priority? While the level of care needed may narrow location options, it might not be as important to your patient as where amenities and resources like doctors, churches, family, and friends are to their potential new home.
When discharge planning for seniors, consider what is important to them in a residential community and what they enjoy doing with others. For instance, if gardening is a big part of your patient's life, focus on finding communities to match. Many communities offer a variety of amenities, classes, outings, and activities.
As you likely know, transitioning an older adult to senior living can be stressful for the patient's family. As you present your findings to those closest to your patient, focus on balancing your patient's preferences with their needs. While you likely do this naturally as part of your process, expressing it outwardly will ensure the family knows you're keeping their loved one's best interest as a primary focus.
To provide your patient and their family or loved ones with as much support and helpful information as possible, prepare some basic questions they may have, along with answers to them. Questions could include:
Discussing the items listed above with your patient and their family will show them you know everyone's needs as you search for the right senior care option.
When people suffer an acute illness, injury, or undergo surgery to repair something, they may not be ready to return home immediately. Transitional care is the necessary support and ongoing therapy option for recovery to bridge the gap between hospital and home.
Please talk with a Senior Care Advisor to learn more about the several Walker Methodist communities, our various care programs, and what suits your needs.