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Caregiving Tools

Hospitalization Checklist

We’ve broken down the key stages of hospitalization. Review each section to help you navigate our recommended steps.

  • Be sure to include all over-the-counter and nonprescription medications, such as pain relievers, allergy pills, stomach remedies, and others.
  • Don’t forget to mention allergies to things other than medications.
  • Discuss all surgeries, health conditions, and any other information that could affect their care
  • This includes new symptoms and new things you`ve noticed, wandering, forgetfulness, or unsteadiness when walking
  • Examples might include changes in appetite or new symptoms like headaches, blurred vision, weakness, new urine incontinence, and others.
  • Delirium is the sudden disruption of consciousness and cognition. Symptoms can include hallucinations, delusions, or inability to focus.
  • Many doctors may assume your loved one already has dementia, and they may not realize it is delirium. So, if you notice changes in behavior, speak up.
  • Delirium can be a major setback to how well or how quickly a person recovers.
  • Maintaining a proper sleep-wake cycle and keeping your loved one oriented are crucial to avoiding delirium.
  • Keep your loved one active during the day and have them move around as much as possible (subject to safety and other medical restrictions in place), make sure they are eating (if oral food/water are prescribed), and give them things to do during the day and keep them engaged. These things will help promote sleeping during the night.
  • Learn more about hospital induced delirium and the best ways to prevent it here.
  • Don`t be afraid to ask questions about what is being prescribed and why
  • Try to be at your loved one`s bedside as much as possible
  • Enlist other friends/family to be there when you cannot
  • Keep notes to remember questions when providers come into the room
  • Don`t be afraid to ask questions to understand what is going on, especially if you think something isn`t right
  • Discuss with an occupational therapist or physical therapist any limitations your loved one has in their home, like stairs, bathtubs, and showers.
  • Are there certain activities your loved one will need help with, including bathing, dressing, using the bathroom, walking, cooking, food shopping, house cleaning, paying bills, running errands, and taking medications properly?
  • Are there activities your loved one should avoid?
  • Does your loved one need to modify their diet?
  • Activity limitations - stairs, toileting, bathing, wound care, and others.
  • Are there any activities/services you will have to perform on behalf of your loved one?
  • Have staff teach you how to perform specific patient care procedures like administering shots, changing bandages, etc.
  • Note: This is sometimes addressed and done on the day of hospital release, but they are important and should be done as early as possible. When being taught how to do something (like how to care for a wound) or having something explained to you before discharge, have it repeated as many times as needed until you understand and are comfortable.
  • A visiting nurse can help ease the transition once your loved one is home. Discuss this option with your discharge manager or social worker.
  • Go to Care Notes
  • If you or your healthcare providers believe your loved one is being discharged from the hospital too soon and requires additional care or needs to stay in the hospital longer for some other reason, let the hospital know.
  • Here is information on how to file a Medicare hospital discharge appeal
  • You can contact your Beneficiary and Family Centered Care-Quality Improvement Organization (BFCC-QIO) for help with filing an appeal. Find out how to reach the appropriate BFCC-QIO

  • Make sure they are scheduled before your loved one leaves the hospital
  • Find out who to call if something goes wrong after discharge or if you have questions
  • Review with medical staff what are the warning signs of a condition that requires urgent or immediate medical attention post-release
  • Know when to alert your post-discharge medical care team to a change in condition or when to return to the hospital
  • Go to Care Contacts
  • Make sure there are no interactions between old and new medications, since this is a common cause of medical errors and rehospitalization
  • Double-check prescriptions are being sent to the correct pharmacy
  • Enter new medications into the Care Journal
  • Make sure you know what to do before leaving the hospital
  • This could include blood pressure, pulse, breathing rate, temperature, or blood glucose levels
  • Are there any daily metrics you should be tracking and keeping a record of? If so, what should you do with this information, and when does it warrant contacting a medical provider?
  • You can track these in Care Journal

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