When caregivers need to take an older adult to the hospital, it can be an extremely stressful situation for both the senior and the caregiver. Going to the hospital can sometimes bring out the very worst behaviors in dementia patients. Thats because the environment is unfamiliar and theres a lot of commotion going on. These things can be frightening to someone with dementia and add to their confusion. Being armed with techniques for taking some out of the stress out of going to the hospital can make your next trip easier.
#1: Have Familiar Caregivers Available as Often as Possible
Part of the problem with a hospital stay is that the older adult doesnt recognize any of the people around them. Having someone with them that they know as often as possible can make the stay easier for them and make them more willing to cooperate with hospital staff. If you already have a set care schedule for family caregivers, keep it going through the hospital stay. Have caregivers come to the hospital and sit with the older adult instead of going to the seniors home. Ask the hospital if the overnight caregiver can sleep on a cot in the older adults room, so that if they wake during the night, theres someone there to reassure them.
#2: Go to the ER in Pairs
When you have to take the older adult to the emergency room, call someone to meet you at the hospital. Having another family caregiver on hand can allow one of you to stay with the senior and the other to take care of paperwork and listening to the doctors instructions.
#3: Always Have a Go Bag on Hand
Since older adults with dementia are at a greater risk for needing to go to the hospital, it can help to always have a bag packed to take with you. In addition to things like a change of clothes, the bag should include copies of important information, like insurance cards, an updated medication list, and contact information for providers and family members. That way, you dont have to take time to pack before leaving or scramble to come up with information when youre at the hospital.
#4: Be Prepared to Advocate
Hospital staff cant tell your aging relative has dementia just by looking at them. In addition, some staff members may not have training in how to interact with a dementia patient. As a caregiver, youre going to need to advocate for them. Dont be afraid to tell people the senior comes in contact how they like to be addressed and what will work best when asking them to do something. You may even need to educate some staff members about how the older adult is affected by dementia. Remember, not everyone in a hospital has medical training. The senior will come into contact with cleaning people and administrative workers, too.
If you or an aging loved one is considering caregivers in Burnsville, MN, and the surrounding areas, please contact the friendly staff at CareBuilders at Home Minnesota. Call today 612-260-2273.