hospital discharge

Navigating the hospital discharge process can be challenging, but prioritizing the dignity of older adults is essential for optimal long-term outcomes. When you or a loved one is hospitalized, you can expect to collaborate closely with a registered nurse (RN), case manager (CM), and social worker (SW) to develop a comprehensive discharge plan. As key members of the clinical team, they will communicate with you from the outset to discuss your discharge arrangements.

It is important to understand that this strategy is subject to change. The information you receive about what to expect can vary from one day to the next. Discharge plans often require adjustments and updates due to new information from the medical team, changing circumstances, and additional tests. As a result, family members may experience confusion or frustration due to these changes.

Though discharge is typically viewed as the conclusion of the hospital journey, it actually signals the start of a complex and multifaceted path. This complexity often leads to considerable challenges in planning patient discharges.

What are the alternatives for a patient who cannot go back home? Elderly individuals generally favor returning home instead of engaging in necessary inpatient or acute rehabilitation programs. A prevalent concern among older adults is the fear of losing their independence. There is often anxiety that professional rehabilitation might restrict their independence.

Some older individuals might support a decision that isn’t in their best interest because they are optimistic about regaining their normal functionality after a hospital stay. Unfortunately, even after a short hospital stay, many elderly individuals experience a decline in their functional abilities. They often overlook that this decline could impede their ability to perform everyday activities. This overestimation of their capabilities is especially common among seniors with dementia.

As seniors recover from a hospital stay, transitioning to skilled or acute rehabilitation is an essential step. Adhering to doctors’ advice is crucial for their safety and well-being. Neglecting this guidance can lead to harm and diminish their dignity, so it should always be followed.

It’s unfortunate that hospitalization can be extremely distressing for seniors, leading to heightened anxiety and apprehension. Studies have highlighted the critical nature of the 30 days post-discharge, as this period poses significant risks for both the patient and their family.

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