Discharging the elderly (and others): Continuation of Care

Mario Suwendy

February 08

As people age into their golden years, more often than not they will end up visiting the hospital for health conditions ranging from falls to strokes. For severe cases of hospital visits, the elderly would normally be admitted for a few days up to weeks and it often results in a need for lifestyle changes for them. However, not all hospital discharges result in the elderly resuming their normal lifestyle as some of them require further follow-ups on progress as well as a certain level of professional care family members are usually unable to provide alone. Upon knowing that, some of the questions family members usually have in regards to that matter: How will the discharge be carried out? What do we need to know about our loved one’s care needs? Where will they live to get professional care besides the hospital?

  • When will my elderly loved one be discharged?
    One of the factors to consider before the discharge of elderly patients is their health condition. Your loved one’s care team must be satisfied that their patient is well enough to leave without the need of returning for more treatments and just occasional check-ups. Besides that, accommodation is also taken into consideration whereby there should be proper care or alternative support is provided to allow them to return home safely.
  • Treatment and care plans
    A treatment plan will be devised first whereby the patient’s relevant health information, medication or therapies and hospital visits or stays will be documented with the consent and guidance of the patient, family members and relevant professionals involved. After the treatment plan is finalized, a care plan will be created to evaluate the ability of the patient to live independently throughout the time of care.
  • Establishing a discharge date
    As simple of a matter as this would seem to be, it should be handled properly on a case-to-case basis. For example, if your elderly loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or needs professional care at home, time is needed to gather medical supplies. In addition to that, transport arrangements from the hospital as well as professional care service require time to be established. Another issue with ensuring a proper discharge date is set is that some hospitals have a higher demand for beds, therefore, patients who no longer need hospital treatment are required to vacate the bed as soon as possible.
  • Managing a hospital discharge
    Matters related to the discharge of your elderly loved one will usually be coordinated by a key worker in the hospital. A key worker is someone who plays a vital role in the healthcare service and usually refers to the nurse taking care of your elderly loved one throughout the hospital stay. Nurses are often the key worker as they play a pivotal role throughout the discharge process as they are the ones who actually monitor and keep track of the patient's progress before, after and throughout their hospital stay.
  • What is Reablement?
    Reablement is another term for recuperation or recovery after being discharged from the hospital and may require specific life changes temporarily. Usually, a recovery team will keep track of your elderly loved one’s transition of lifestyles from the point of discharge with some form of consultation from a liaison nurse, discharge coordinator or an assessment officer. A clear set of requirements will be established through the recuperation and discharge plan. The rest of it is up to your elderly loved one and your family to decide how to provide the necessary needs to allow the best form of recovery.
  • Considering a nursing home or care home
    Nowadays, with living expenses rising, most families have started to opt for having fewer children in the house or family members have moved around for work obligations. This makes it harder for family members to take care of their elderly loved one as even if there is no problem with the number of family members, most of them would either have daily responsibilities to carry out and would not be at home for a majority of the day. This leads to family members opting for in-home care or a nursing home as alternatives to this problem. However, by the end of the day, the final decision should come from your loved one as it is their life that will be affected by the choices made.
  • Arranging private live-in care at home
    Most families usually prefer getting private live-in care at home for their elderly because there is no need for their loved one to go to another facility as they can just be comfortable at home. Besides that, they are also able to continue being independent with no interruptions or restrictions to their usual lifestyle.
  • Who will care for my parent at home?
    Usually a caregiver is assigned to care for and aid your elderly loved one at home and it is usually up to the family to decide if they want a live-in or daily basis caregiver. Caregivers can carry out light housekeeping and non-medical tasks such as keeping track of your loved one’s medication routine. Besides that, they also provide companionship and emotional support by aiding your elderly loved one in their daily routines while helping them maintain their independence. However, if your elderly loved one requires medical tasks to be performed on them on a regular basis such as wound dressing changes or handling of medical equipment at home then a nurse would be a better option to take care of them or working in tandem with the caregiver on an as-needed basis.

To learn more about Pillar’s Integrated Care Service (PICS) for hospital discharge and continuation of care at home, please contact us at hello@pillarcare.com or call/text/messsage/Whatsapp: +60 17 805-9677.  www.pillarcare.com

More about Home Caregiving:

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Self-care for Caregivers. Guest blog by care expert, Harry Cline

Caregiving is rewarding but stressful. According to a 2015 study conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and the AARP Public Policy Institute, nearly 40 million U.S. adults have provided unpaid care for another adult in the past 12 months.

Because caregiving carries a unique set of challenges that can wreak havoc on your body, spirit, and mental health, treat yourself with kindness when feelings of anger, stress, frustration, and depression threaten to overwhelm you and cause burnout.

Those emotions are normal — and when you’re stressed, it’s important not to self-medicate with addictive substances but rather to take a step back. Breathe. Give yourself permission to step away and take care of yourself.

Signs It’s Time to Take a Break to Prevent Burnout

If you find yourself experiencing any of the following symptoms, it may be time to step away for a little while.


  • Exhaustion

  • Forgetfulness

  • Anxiety or depression

  • Stomach issues, headaches, or other physical symptoms of stress

  • Increased illnesses

  • Using substances to self-medicate

Why Self-Care Is Essential

You might be an able-bodied “I’ve got it together” person who’s capable of doing it all. However, that doesn’t mean you should. There’s no shame in asking for help. Otherwise:


  1. You may not be able to care for your loved one. When you neglect your own self-care, your health can diminish, leaving you unable to act as a caregiver.

  2. Your quality of life may decrease and you may lose friends, especially if you’re part of the “sandwich generation,” where you’re raising a family and taking care of an older parent and have little time to spare.

  3. You might not live as long. One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people experience caregiver stress and strain are 63 percent more likely to die prematurely than non-caregivers.

Give Yourself Permission to Be Selfish

Has it been so long since you thought about yourself that you’re not sure where to start? Feeling guilty about spending too much time on self-care? These ideas may help.

Take regular breaks. Whether you’re spending the majority of a day caring for someone else or working a full-time job and then assuming caregiving duties in the evening, take breaks throughout the day and evening.

Stay active. Aim for 20 to 30 minutes of activity three or more times a week. Hit the gym for a spin class. Schedule an evening “walk date” with your partner, neighbor, or friends. Want something a little more low-key to help you relax? Try yoga or tai chi.

Eat well. It’s so tempting to grab and live on fast food when you’re rushing from one place to the next. But healthy, nutritious food keeps your energy up, boosts your immune system, and helps maintain a healthy weight.

Sleep. Don’t skip sleep -- it’s critical to feeling well physically, mentally, and emotionally. Create a sleep routine that works for you; if you’re feeling cramped on time, claim the hour or 30 minutes before you sleep as yours for a warm bath, a cup of tea, meditation, or a good book.

Stay connected to friends. Laughter’s the best medicine — it’s cliche, but true. And sometimes, it’s all that keeps you from crying. Reach out to your tribe and build your network. Even if it’s a flurry of funny texts or a running conversation on Facebook Messenger, it’s a connection to the outside world that keeps you from feeling isolated.

Take time off. Don’t feel guilty about asking for help. That includes connecting with an agency that provides respite care or coordinating and sharing caregiving duties with other family members, trusted friends, or members of your church community, for example. Time away to do something you love gives you an opportunity to recharge and refresh your whole self.

Need other suggestions? Check out these self-care tips designed to help you avoid caregiver burnout. For additional resources on caregiving, whether you’re preparing to start or have cared for someone for a while, visit this site, which lists organizations with a wealth of information on supporting those who need help while not neglecting your own self-care.

Author

Harry Cline is creator of NewCaregiver.org and author of the upcoming book, The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-Tos for Senior Caregivers. As a retired nursing home administrator, father of three, and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, Harry knows how challenging and rewarding caregiving can be. He also understands that caregiving is often overwhelming for those just starting out. He created his website and is writing his new book to offer new caregivers everywhere help and support.

Photo Credit: Pexels.com

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Fun things caregivers can do with elderly to keep their bodies and minds active

There comes a time in everyone’s lives when they start aging and eventually are forced to retire at a certain age whether by choice or from the lack of characteristics they once had. When the time comes though, most of the elderly population tend to have more free time in their hands to carry out many activities daily. However, even if they have all that free time to spend, they might not possess the physical or mental strength they used to have in their younger years to enjoy such activities anymore (e.g. extreme sports or exercises). In addition to that, as mentioned in previous blog posts, as you age your health may start to decline and many illnesses or conditions may present themselves and affect your body. Most families that face this problem tend to hire a caregiver to take care of their loved one while the family members go out to work or carry out their daily responsibilities. With that being said, some elderly citizens do not have illnesses or conditions that leave them bedridden but are just in need of some company from the caregiver while they continue being independent. Therefore, a certain level of cooperation is required from both the caregiver and the one being cared for to ensure both parties are satisfied and happy with each other in doing what they want. Here are some fun things caregivers can do with the elderly to keep their bodies and minds active while maintaining a healthy relationship with each other.



  • Outdoor activities
    Staying cooped up at home for long periods of time without much to do is not a healthy choice of life and may lead to depression in some severe cases. Whether your loved one is a physically active person or not, it is good to enjoy the great outdoors once in a while and breathe some fresh air for a change. They do not necessarily have to do any heavy duty activities like hiking or cycling but simple activities like taking a walk, doing some tai chi or gardening would be beneficial to the body. Although some people are worried that their elderly loved ones will be more prone to injuries in the outdoors, outdoor activities can actually strengthen the bones and reduce the risk of falling. In addition to that, the caregiver can assist or keep an eye on your loved one to ensure they do not get harmed in any way.





  • Socializing
    As you get older you tend to reminisce on the good times in your life, and more often than not you start to wonder about your friends or relatives that you were once close to, but rarely keep in touch now. Free time from either retirement or recovery periods can be used to re-establish friendships with former acquaintances. Your loved one can be encouraged to get in touch with their old friends and have meetups over tea or meals with the aid of a caregiver. This helps to make them feel less isolated, from being left with a caregiver, as well as to improve their morale and self-esteem.





  • Arts and crafts
    Most of the senior citizens in this era usually come from a generation that have either lived with less technology or have gone went through a period of technological transition over the years. This eventually led them to cultivate hobbies such as gardening, drawing, sewing, knitting and many more. Motivating your loved ones to try arts and crafts will promote creativity and bring back the nostalgia of their childhood days. Even if arts and crafts were not part of their childhood years, it is a good time to start learning or trying new things. This new learning adventure could lead them to make nice presents during the festive seasons, or even better still, to initiate a new business opportunity during their golden years!


  • Games and puzzles

Caregivers can engage senior citizens by challenging them to a few board games or puzzles to keep their minds active. Most board games or puzzles produced by companies are usually user-friendly and have relatively simple rules or game instructions that is not difficult for the elderly to follow. Another plus point would be that most of them are pretty portable to bring around so they can be played anywhere and with anyone.


Mario Suwendy

May 14