If you have an elderly loved one, it can be stressful when you have to take him or her to the hospital. When your loved one has dementia, it can be even more stressful. Planning ahead for hospital visits can help to take some of the stress out of the situation. Here is a checklist from Elder Care Direction that might make your preparations a little easier.
You will need to start by figuring out the team who can relieve you at the hospital or emergency room. It is a good idea to have at least two people who you can call to meet you at the hospital or who can take over in shifts to stay with your loved one.
Packing an emergency bag for your loved one is also important if he or she will be in the hospital for an extended period of time. The emergency bag should contain a personal information sheet that contains a complete list of all of his or her medications as well as any concerning behaviors, allergies, and degree of impairment information. The bag should also include any other important documents that might be needed. It is a good idea to have a checklist and an emergency bag ready for anyone who might have to go to the hospital.
Personal information sheet
The personal information sheet for your loved one should contain all of the following information:
- Name and language
- Names and contact information for doctors, family members, friends, and your loved one’s minister
- Medical conditions
- Allergies to foods or medications and info about any special diet
- Whether your loved one needs glasses, hearing aids, or dentures
- How much assistance your loved one needs for activities
- Family information, major life events, and living situation
- Work and leisure history
- Information about religion
- Self-care preferences and daily schedule
- Favorite music and foods
- Communication style and how your loved one expresses his or her emotions
Documents to include
You should include copies of your loved one’s important documents such as the following:
- Insurance cards, policy numbers and pre-authorization telephone numbers
- Medicare or Medicaid cards
- Durable powers of attorney and living will
- Original DNR order if applicable
Clothing and supplies
You should also include the following in the emergency bag:
- Toiletries, personal medications, and a change of clothing
- Adult briefs if they are worn
- Hand wipes and bags for soiled clothing
- Objects that are reassuring
- A CD player or MP3 player with earphones
Make certain to remember yourself when you pack the emergency bag. You will want to include a change of clothing for yourself along with your own toiletries and personal medications. You will also want to bring pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Finally, bring snacks and bottles of water for yourself and your loved one as well as a small amount of money.
You will want to place a note on the exterior of the bag to remind yourself to bring your cell phone. Document your loved one’s symptoms. You might be asked the same questions by a number of different people. If you have written your observations down, you can simply show them your log instead of having to repeat yourself over and over.
Get help from Elder Care Direction
Caring for an elderly loved one can be difficult. Elder Care Direction is here to provide you with the guidance that you need to navigate through the process. To learn more, contact Elder Care Direction today to schedule a consultation.