The First 48 Hours After Hospitalization

by Lois Etienne on November 5, 2012

in Caregiver Support,Lifestyle,Senior Health and Safety

Most of us can’t wait to be discharged from any hospitalization. However, the first 48 hours back home are absolutely critical for seniors. Making sure they get proper nutrition and hydration, that they take their medications as prescribed and monitoring their activity levels are all important to a speedy and successful recovery.

One of the most vital activities that all caregivers must provide, especially during this critical first 48 hours home, is monitoring for and acting on warning signs of potential health issues.

Before your loved one even leaves the hospital or other medical facility you should work with the discharge coordinator, social worker or doctor to prepare a discharge checklist. Once your senior is back home, it is important to keep a record of his or her recovery process. The record could include what and how much is eaten, medications taken, activities and the level of assistance provided each day.

Nutrition management is especially important. Sometimes during recuperation periods, people won’t feel hungry or their medications might make food taste funny so they don’t eat as well as the should. Therefore, it is important to watch for signs of dehydration or poor nutrition such as depression, weight fluctuation, lethargy, poor skin tone and cognitive problems such as confusion or disorientation. Medication management is another vital care factor that includes tracking medications, getting refills, making sure proper dosing happens and watching for signs of interaction or reaction.

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