In the mind of a senior, many times they feel they are “better”, or “cured” upon discharge from a hospital or rehabilitation facility. Especially when they arrive back home, where the surroundings are familiar and they can return to their normal routines.

However, this can be very deceiving. When your elderly parent(s) leave an acute care hospital, nursing and rehabilitation center or a long-term acute care hospital, recovery has not been completed. In many ways, it is just beginning – whether you are going to another care setting or home.

Many studies have shown that the period after hospital discharge, or the transition between acute care and a less intense level of care, represents one of the times when the senior is most vulnerable.

Take the time to learn and listen to the medical professionals dealing with your elderly parent. You do not necessarily need to agree with their opinions. As a matter of fact, you may have a better understanding of your elderly family than the social services staff. But you need to listen to their observations and evaluations – given they have had your parents under their care umbrella for multiple days and sessions – because their objectivity may reveal new information and professional advice on next steps in care.

Virtually all facilities offer discharge planning resources or a dedicated staff member to aid patients with planning. Take advantage of these resources, ask the right questions, listen to medical feedback, and voice your own concerns as to care planning.

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

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