It is always good news when an older loved one is discharged from a skilled nursing facility. However, that puts into motion yet another phase of their care: the one that takes place at home. Seniors released from a skilled nursing rehabilitation facility may still be recovering from their surgery, illness or injury and remain frail and in pain. It is important that you have the full range of support services necessary to guarantee a safe and appropriate recovery.
Here are three ways in which you can line up support for you and your loved one before he or she goes home.
1. Work with the nursing facility’s discharge planner. Discharge planners are responsible for making sure that you have the support you need at home. This can include everything from professional home care to special devices such as wheelchairs and walkers. Make sure that you have all the care instructions you need including a complete list of medications. If there are gaps in care at home, discuss these with the discharge planner. It is his or her responsibility to connect you with professional home care services and other types of support. The goal of the release plan is to ensure a smooth transition from nursing facility to home.
2. Become familiar with support services in your community. Most every community has senior support services that can help you when your loved one comes home. They range from professional home care agencies to councils on aging. Before you engage a home care agency, make sure they are certified in senior care and understand the in-home care services they offer. Know what payments the home care agency accepts and if their services are covered by Medicare and/or Medicaid. Plan ahead in case you have to enroll and wait for payments to be processed. Councils on aging often have numerous programs for seniors ranging from advocacy to companionship services. To find the one near you click here to conduct a quick web search for “councils on aging” and the name of your county.
3. Plan for good nutrition. Returning home from the nursing home doesn’t mean that your loved one’s appetite returns. Exhaustion may interfere and medications can alter taste buds. However, good nutrition is extremely important for a good recovery. Stock the refrigerator with foods that are appetizing, yet easy to eat. Yogurt, pudding and applesauce are nutritious and easy to eat. Homemade soups and bone broth are always great.