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Ensuring Comfort for Long-Term Hospital Stays for Seniors

By Dian Brannen, 8:00 am on

Hospital stays after an illness, injury or surgery tend to be longer for seniors, especially for those with chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Although nobody is completely comfortable in a hospital, there are certain things that family caregivers can do to increase their loved one’s comfort level during a current or upcoming long-term hospital stay.

Do Your Homework on Hospitals

Just because your loved one is admitted to one hospital doesn’t mean that they have to stay there for the duration of their treatment. Take some time to research other Lehigh Valley hospitals, including those that specialize in the condition that’s affecting your loved one. You may also want to look into long-term care facilities in the event that your loved one isn’t able to return home right away.

Increase Comfort and Familiarity

When it becomes clear that a hospital stay is going to be longer than expected, make every effort to make the stay as comfortable as possible. This can help to create feelings of safety for your loved one. In fact, studies show that seniors who feel safe and secure often have a better outlook about recovery, an important component in the overall healing process. Most hospitals will allow you to bring in some personal items such as family photos, a radio or record player and even fuzzy slippers.

Having a family member or friend bedside at the hospital can further increase feelings of comfort. If you are unable to spend extended periods of time with your loved one because of work or other family commitments, consider hiring a professional part-time caregiver who can provide companionship and emotional support, while also ensuring all information from the doctor and medical staff is communicated and written down for future reference.

Pay Attention to the Little Things

Sometimes, all you need to do is ask! You often have more of a say in how comfortable a hospital stay can be than you may realize. For instance, take a look at what food your loved one is being served. If, for example, you know that your loved one prefers tea and likes jelly on their toast instead of butter, ask the nurse or dietician if changes can be made. Also consider:

  • Adjusting the curtains at different times of the day
  • Reporting any uncomfortable room temperatures to the staff
  • Making sure that the phone in the room is within easy reach (and leave a list of friends or relatives who are authorized to call)

For more information about caring for a loved one at the hospital, reach out to Home Care Assistance of the Lehigh Valley today at 484-350-3874 or visit our website at www.homecareassistancelehighvalley.com. Our highly trained caregivers are available for hourly and live-in care and can provide assistance at the hospital, rehabilitation facilities and in your loved one’s home to ensure a smooth, safe and hassle-free recovery.