Preparing For A Hospital Visit

Preparing For A Hospital Visit

Hospitals can be a very stressful place to be.  When someone is living with dementia, it can be even more stressful. In this article we’ll discuss some tips for how to prepare for a hospital visit.

Preparing For a Hospital Visit

As a caregiver for someone with dementia, it’s important to plan ahead whenever possible, including hospital visits. Someone living with dementia is at greater risk of the following when visiting a hospital:

  • Developing a pressure ulcer or bed sore
  • Receiving less pain meds for a hip fracture
  • Receiving an increase in antipsychotics

Orchard at Brookhaven Senior Living knows the risks of someone going to the hospital. Therefore, our Wellness Team works diligently with the staff and families in order to be able to identify health changes in a proactive manner. If a loved one does have to go to the hospital, there are some things that will help the visit go as smoothly as possible.

What To Bring When You Go To The Hospital

The hospital staff will need to know as much information as possible and it is often difficult to remember everything when you are under stress. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep a document ready and in a prominent location in the house so that is accessible in a moment’s notice. Below are typical information sheet items you’ll need to prepare.

  • Preferred name
  • List of Illnesses or other medical conditions
  • Medications (drugs, OTC, vitamins, herbs…)
    • If possible, bring the bottles
    • Allergies or histories of bad reactions to medications and substances
  • Need for glasses, dentures, and/or hearing aids
  • Assistance needed to complete tasks
  • Abilities and limitations of processing information etc…
    • Memory
    • Language
    • Understanding
    • Hand skills
    • Movement
    • Judgment
    • Impulse control
  • Family information
    • (names and relationships, favorites, may include pets) Family dynamics if applicable
  • Work history
    • (jobs, preferences, old and recent)
    • Hobbies and interests
    • (what they liked and did, what they disliked)
  • Living situation
    • (where from, lived where, with whom, history, current)
  • Spiritual/ religious background
    • (participation & does this provide comfort?)
  • Daily schedule and patterns
  • Self-care preferences and patterns
    • (grooming, bathing, exercise, dressing, amounts of help used)
  • Major Life Events
    • (are any of these impacting them at present or could become an issue during their stay)
    • (Have they been admitted to the hospital in the past and what kind of experience did they have)
  • Stressors
    • (what gets them upset, words, actions, responses…)
  • Favorite Foods
  • Food Dislikes & Allergies
  • Favorite music
    • Bring it in and plan to use it
  • Touch and visual preferences
    • Stuff to look at, do, touch
    • Ask about massage, recreation, volunteers
  • Highlight any Points of Concern:
    • Wandering or elopement
    • Anxiety/agitation
    • Need for or desire for movement
    • Calling out or yelling
    • Swallowing or eating problems
    • Fall risk
    • Dis-inhibition – say or do things
    • Immobility
    • Tendency to pull on things and tubes
    • Emotional swings
  • Can this person express the need to:
    • Eat
    • Drink
    • Rest
    • Use the restroom
    • Help getting changed
  • Are they able to express when they are:
    • Lonely
    • Scared
    • Angry
    • Sad
    • Happy
    • Confused

Papers To Pack For A Hospital Visit

Below are a list of paper to pack when you prepare for a hospital visit.

  • Health Care Power of Attorney – notarized
  • Advance Directives – notarized
  • Copy of prescriptions
  • Phone numbers for baby sitter, pet sitter, care givers if any
  • List of Names and Phone Numbers to contact
  • Copy of your calendar
  • Contact numbers for work or commitments in the next week
  • Blank notepad or notebook – to record notes or info you want to keep track of or questions you want to ask

It is always more difficult to think about what is needed in times of stress. Hospital stays are stressful events so the more you plan prior to having to take your loved one to the hospital, the easier it will be to think about what might make their stay as beneficial as possible. If you have any questions, please contact us.