Your father fell and broke his hip. Your mother suffered a stroke. Your husband has dementia and is in the hospital with pneumonia. Now what? Who’s going to take care of your loved one when they are ready for discharge?

As you can imagine, these scenarios play out on a daily basis in hospitals across the country. For adults age 65 and older, the average length of stay in the hospital is 5.5 days. Five days go by pretty quickly, leaving you little time to put a plan in place for the next level of care.

In my role as a health advocate, I’ve received many phone calls from anxious adult children and spouses who struggle to make the best decisions for their family member’s future care, especially when the need for care is unexpected.

Here are some of the questions they typically need help with:

Can I really take care of my family member when they go home?

Who else can help me?

How much does home care cost?

Should our family member go to rehab and which one is the best?

How can you advocate for my family member?

The social worker just called and they want to send my loved one home, but it is too overwhelming. Do I have a choice on what happens next?

Hospital social workers and case managers are often overwhelmed by the sheer volume of patients needing help at the time of discharge. They don’t always have the time to devote special attention to your loved one’s next stage of care.

On top of that, they feel pressured by hospital administrators to get patients out of the hospital. As a result, you may also feel pressured to make decisions that aren’t always in the best interest of your family member (or for you as the caregiver).

As I mentioned in my past blog 8 Ways To Avoid Making Dangerous Medical Mistakes When Leaving The Hospital the best time to plan for discharge is on the day of admission. You only have a few days to plan what kind of care your loved one will need.

Sometimes it’s very clear on day one that you won’t have the skill or endurance to take care of a family member after a fracture, stroke, or medical crisis. You may also not have the knowledge on how to navigate the next step in care.

So… you should really consider reaching out to a health advocate, geriatric care manager, or aging life specialist to provide the helpful answers to the common questions that often arise from a new and challenging health crisis.

As a health advocate, I can provide you with information about the different types of post-hospital care. I have experience working with in-home care providers, acute care rehabs, sub-acute rehabs, and long-term acute care hospitals.

I can offer advice on the best facilities in your local region. I’m also more than happy to work with your social worker or case manager to find available rehab beds and to assist you in finding additional resources once you go home.

If your family member has been admitted to the hospital and you are overwhelmed by the decisions you need to make, call Severino Health Advisors for a free 15-minute phone consultation to see how we can help and immediately reduce the stress of caregiving decision-making.