Preparing for a Loved One Returning Home
Before your loved one returns home, speak to the nurse on the ward and find out what level of support they are going to need and if any care is required. Paying for care depends on your loved one’s financial circumstances and a means test should be arranged through Adult Social Care.
They may require temporary care at home to help them re-gain their independence such as Reablement Care which is available free for up to six weeks depending on their care needs. If they need long term care after six weeks, they may require Home Care which the hospital should help you to arrange.
There are many things to consider before a loved one returns home but remember to involve them and get their agreement on any changes you think might be needed.
- Find out what type of equipment may be needed and when it will arrive. Often the hospital Occupational Therapy team will visit your loved one after they arrive home and assess what equipment will be suitable. Discuss any adaptations that can be made such as ramps, handrails or raised seating, equipment for showering etc
- Move their bed downstairs if there is a risk of falling when using the stairs. If the mobility issue is long term, then Disabled Facilities Grants are available
- If they are prone to falls then discuss the layout of the home with them, perhaps remove hazards such as rugs and consider getting a Care Alarm in place
- If the person needs to be cared for in bed make sure items such as a bowl, flannels, towels, bed sheets (and spares) are available and easily accessible. Get two bowls and plenty of flannels so one bowl is used for washing face/hands and another bowl for washing the rest of the body
- Make sure their medication is ready before going home. The hospital should supply this. Check if they can independently manage medication and consider if a repeat prescription is needed and can be delivered
- If continence pads are required, an assessment should have taken place in hospital. Check they have enough pads to last until the next delivery is due. Purchase some disposable bags for any waste
- If Home Carers are visiting, consider getting a note pad so that you can communicate anything necessary with them, like, “clean sheets in the bottom drawer”
- They may need help with drinking or eating so consider if cups with lids or special cutlery is required
- Consider getting a Key Safe so that family, friends and carers can gain access without the person needing to get to the door
- Find out about what delivery services are available such as meals on wheels, supermarket delivery etc
- Think about other services locally that might help such as day centres and luncheon clubs
For their first night at home check the house is clean, warm and tidy and consider staying with them to provide practical support but also to give emotional support as they settle back in. Returning home to their favourite treats will help them to feel welcome:
- New pyjamas, dressing gowns and slippers (think about getting comfortable and easy to wear items)
- Stock up with some of their favourite foods, perhaps preparing their favourite meal for their first night at home
- For female relatives they might enjoy new toiletries such as shower gels, shampoo and soaps
For more information about caring for a loved one at home join our discussion in our Facebook group Care Begins at Home for ongoing advice and support from experts.