As we age and our loved ones enter their golden years, it becomes more likely that they will spend some overnights in a hospital or other health facility. Acknowledging that possibility, although difficult, can help you and your family prepare for such an occurrence. Included in that preparation  is to take the time now, while not in a crisis, to plan for their return home. In non-crisis times, family members are more able to deal with logistics and emotions than during distress.

Recovery from surgery, a severe illness or an unexpected accident can be long and challenging. By making plans now for a loved one to return home after that kind of challenge, you are ensuring the most supportive environment, doing your best to assure a seamless recovery. Not having a plan can increase the possibility of the loved one returning to the hospital due to oversight in follow-up visits, medication administration and other dangerous situations.

If you or other family members are able to provide this assistance, you may want to set up a few systems to help you remember and implement the suggestions below. Here are three ways you can prepare:

  • Manage a schedule for medications, eating, resting and exercise
  • Schedule and provide transportation to follow-up appointments
  • Watch for symptoms or reactions reported by doctor

If providing for these needs seems overwhelming or doesn’t fit in your work or family schedule, you may want to hire an in-home care worker, now is the time to research the options and interview potential candidates. Having to make the decision hastily during a trauma can lead to bad results. Other services that a home health care professional can provide include hygiene, dressing, mobility and emotional support.

Finally, with any senior in your family, be ready with important paperwork such as health information, government aid/benefits, emergency procedures, list of prescriptions or other pertinent medical history and any other important documents.

When we work to be prepared in advance of a big challenge such as this, we do a service to those we love and ourselves.