Overcoming the Distance: Planning a Loved One’s Hospital Discharge From Abroad

Discharge planning is a critical component in the caregiving process which provides both stability for the person entering recovery and peace of mind for their families. When your loved one in another city is being discharged, how can you ensure a well organised plan while being miles away from loved ones?

Follow-up appointments, regular check-ins with the patient, setting fixed time slots for medication – are just examples of needs that will need careful planning for ageing parents being discharged from hospitals. Organising this new daily routine may not be easy for some of us and the caregiving process can start as early as now.

Discharge planning consists of a personalised and extensive plan of action made for each patient keeping the following in mind: identification, assessment, goal setting, planning, implementation, coordination, and evaluation. It facilitates a smooth transfer of the patient from the hospital to the comfort of your home or community centre. 

Family caregivers, volunteers and hospital personnel all play an important role in taking care of the patient towards full recovery and happiness. One of the main goals is to minimise the risk of hospital readmissions, as demonstrated by a study published by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information. The study’s results also highlight that efficient discharge planning is linked with a shorter hospital stay.

The principal challenge encountered by a remote caregiver during the discharge process is the sheer absence of face-to-face consultations with the medical professionals. Although technology permits real time online communication, nothing can surpass the security and ease of physical interactions. Setting follow-up appointments while coordinating with your loved one from abroad might be challenging and overseeing the entire process will be near impossible given the geographical gaps. “Distance caregivers, compared to local caregivers, have higher stress, feel less support, have higher anxiety and more burden,” Dr. Sara L. Douglas, a nursing professor at Case Western Reserve University, tells The New York Times.

Caregiving from afar, can therefore be worrisome, but is absolutely possible with proper planning and hired help. Here’s how professional caregivers can help, regularly keeping clients in the loop, employing in-home care and finding local coordinators for the benefit of your loved one. 

1) Ensure a smooth transition

In-home care services by professional caregivers such as at Evercare help in the smooth transfer from hospital to home. From creating a care plan and overseeing home modifications, to the procurement of care equipment and escorting patients back home, in-home caregivers are committed to provide assistance in all aspects.

2) Develop an individualised programme with your family for your loved one’s daily needs

One of the key aspects of discharge planning is a customised discharge plan tailored to your loved one’s health condition. Right from the moment your loved one is in the hospital, professional caregivers work with the medical team to lay out the specificities of an efficient post-discharge process. These include the type of medicines patients need, recommended physical exercises, precautions to keep in mind for the following days or weeks, diet plans, future consultations, personal health-goals, and so on. 

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters

3) Locate other local resources for your loved one’s well-being

Professional caregivers can help find and coordinate with local resources or organisations for food, counselling services and support groups etc. From speech therapy to physiotherapy; from home-food outlets for a particular diet to psychologists for emotional distress, abundant resources are available for your ageing parent’s holistic development. Caregivers can help locate these services and even assist the experts in activities. 

4) Provide warm and responsive in-home companion care

In-home caregivers also provide companionship to patients, who may otherwise feel isolated due to physical limitations. Instead of adapting to a care centre’s timings, in-home caregiving is more flexible and cost-effective, charging on an hourly basis according to you and your loved ones’ schedule.

5) Help you sit back and relax 

Finding such help could drastically reduce your stress levels and allow you to simply check-in with the primary caregiver instead of solely managing all responsibilities. Caregivers can facilitate communication between the patient, remote caregivers, and family members. Their job is also to help you be at ease and take some well deserved respite to focus on yourself.

At Evercare, we believe that family always comes first. That includes you. Call us for a free consultation on remote caregiving services at 3905 4000 or write to us at info@yourevercare.com. We are happy to assist you and your beloved family member with leading a fruitful and stress-free life. 

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How home care services help your elderly loved ones with better post-discharge care

Hospital discharge planning in Hong Kong: the missing piece in quality care