Answers to Your Aging Care Questions

Q. My mom was hospitalized after she fell in the bathroom. She just came out of the hospital and I’m afraid this will be a regular occurrence. I live out of town and I want to make sure she’s safe. What can I do to ensure her safety as well as keep her from being re-hospitalized?
A. I’m sorry to hear about your mother’s hospitalization but it’s great that she is back at home. It is likely that the hospital discharge planner took steps to ensure that your mother’s first few days and weeks at home go smoothly. A few of the measures put in place probably include physical therapy (depending on her diagnosis and reason for hospitalization) and any additional medical equipment she can benefit from such as a walker or recommendation for grab bars in her shower.
Here are 3 additional steps you can take to help reduce your mother’s risk of re-hospitalization.
1. Schedule a follow up visit. It is likely that following your mother’s discharge from the hospital her primary care physician will want to see her to ensure that his plan of care is still appropriate for your mother. These visits are crucial to preventing re-admissions; the physician will re-evaluate your mother’s condition as well as review her medications and treatment plan.
2. Enlist the help of a Geriatric Care Manager. These professionals can help your mother by advocating on her behalf and acting as a surrogate family member. Geriatric Care Managers can help your mother determine what the next appropriate steps are for her future care. Additionally, having an unbiased third party involved often makes seniors more comfortable. Oftentimes, they are less hesitant to open up and share their feelings, reservations and fears with a professional.
3. Bring in additional support services for your mother. Private duty home care is one support service that many seniors benefit from, especially after a hospitalization. When seniors return from the hospital they are often weak and do not feel like they are at 100%. Home care agencies provide caregivers that can help with things like personal care, meal preparation, and transportation.
Taking these steps in addition to the plan the hospital has already put in place for your mother