Getting old means spending a lot of time with doctors, nurses, and physical therapists. Time with these folks usually ripples into time required at pharmacies and medical equipment supply stores. If it doesn’t affect us, it’s likely to affect our spouse, a sibling, or a parent.
When we’re young(er) there’s a good chance that either I or my spouse is healthy enough to get me to and from the doctor, hospital, or physical therapist. I remember driving to the physical therapist with one leg in a soft cast. I simply hobbled and wobbled.
When our parents got old, Carmen and I spent months in hospitals, visiting and helping manage their health issues. When they got out, we spent many more hours getting them to physical therapists and doctor appointments.
How Do Seniors Get To Their Doctors & Therapists?
We were shocked at our time spent in hospitals, doctor offices and rehabilitation facilities. When we had a chance to examine why seniors might spend their time in a hospital, the list shook us. It includes some of the following:
Reasons For Senior Hospitalizations
Post Hospitalizations & Rehabilitation
We were shocked again when we realized that for every day you spent in a hospital, you were likely to spend three or more engaging with other health care professionals. Seniors admitted to a hospital often go in debilitated. They certainly come out debilitated. This means post-hospitalization time in rehabilitation facilities, doctor’s offices, and visiting physical therapists.
The standard protocol or modus operandi (MO) is you get admitted to a hospital, and discharged to a rehabilitation facility. The MO addresses the degree to which a senior is debilitated after a hospital stay. The more debilitated, the more likely the need for rehabilitation in a nursing home.
We were shocked again when we realized that even when you went home from the hospital, the needs don’t slow down. In the instances where someone side-stepped rehabilitation facilities, we discovered that help simply shifts from the rehabilitation facility to the home.
Senior’s discharged from a hospital to home regularly needed help for everything: using the bathroom, bathing, cooking, shopping, paying bills, organizing medication, cleaning, and laundering. These were the home chores.
On the medical side, they had home health visits. The visits were from physician assistants, doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, and physical therapists.
Key Takeaway From Hospitalization
Learn about rehabilitation nursing homes (aka skilled nursing facilities) before you need to use them. Find the ones you are most comfortable with and use them when the time comes.
CarePlanIt classifies every issue into one of five key areas: health, housing, finances, end-of-life chores & family communication. Once done, the CarePlanIt framework allows you to create an optimized process of addressing the challenge. You minimize your family’s time and costs while maximizing your chance at reaching an ideal solution. Although all five categories work together, it’s important to make an initial categorization.
Getting to and from hospitals, doctors, nurses and physical therapists is a “Finance” and “Family Communication” issue. If you have unlimited money, hired caregivers can drive you to medical-related appointments and even keep your medical appointment calendar. Most of us don’t have these finances available. We rely on family. The senior, their spouse, and the entire family need to understand what happens when a loved one begins a period of hospitalization.
See our Sections on Finance and Family Communication. Please see our Family Best Practice Section for ideas on how to define, assign and manage tasks.
Quick Ideas For Addressing Senior Transportation
Knowing what needs to be done makes it much easier to seek help with tasks. Although some tasks are unknown, many others are known. Make a list of tasks that need to be completed.
Many faith-based organizations offer senior outreach programs for seniors
Investigate options in your neighborhood.
Almost every community has one or more programs for seniors. Type into a search engine [ (name of your city) AND “senior services” ]. You should find services related to:
The government provides money for community-based senior programs. These are often the services offered in your community. The net results provide the same services like those listed under Community Organizations. Some of our favorites are listed below.
There are hundreds of FREE and low-cost technology sevices that help you schedule, assign, and manage tasks. They include: