This is the second of my ‘Caring for the Elderly’ posts which I want to share with you because of my own personal experience with my Dad. There are options out there that may have made things easier for him and I want to share some of them with you.
Short-term care is offered to help patients recover quickly after an illness or a hospital stay.
It can also be used as a form of respite to allow carers the opportunity to take a break from the duties of full-time care. Depending on the type of short-term care you or your loved one requires, this can be done in a facility or provided as part of a care at home package.
Caring for someone with dementia or other complex conditions can be exhausting, and full-time carers can often find themselves slipping into depression and acquiring mental health problems that aren’t good for them and prove problematic for their relationship with their loved one.
Taking a short-term break from the stress of caring can help alleviate some of these issues. Respite services can come in a variety of forms. It may be a health facility specifically set up for short-term care or a combination of visiting professionals and an adult day centre. A visiting professional can take over the core duties of care, ensuring medication is taken and basic needs are met. For complex needs, the solution may involve having a live-in carer for a short period or arranging a short stay in a specialist facility. Most people are committed to ensuring their loved ones remain at home for as long as possible despite their limitations, but this is infinitely more achievable with carefully planned respite care.
A short-term care package may be put together if you or a loved one is transitioning out of the hospital. With a limited number of beds across the NHS, there is an emphasis on quick rehabilitation. During this form of short-term care, there will be a greater emphasis on the role of the patient in their recovery. A multi-disciplinary team will become involved to help set specific, measurable and achievable goals across the short-term care period.
This type of care is best used when patients are recovering from an accident such as a trip or fall, or from important surgery. A short-term care plan can help speed up the recovery immensely. With the backing of a multi-disciplinary team, a patient is able to get excellent pain management, nursing care, occupational therapy and emotional/psychological support throughout the process.
Transitioning back to your own home
Recovering from an accident or surgery is very important, but so is the return home and back to normal life. The carefully managed process of short-term care will give way to self-management as you or your loved one return home. This can sometimes be an overwhelming experience.
Make sure that you have a set of realistic expectations and make the necessary adjustments to your life well in advance. Ensure that you have a good dialogue with your wrap-around care team well ahead of your return home. Remember, you need to take advantage of your short-term care experience to give yourself the best chance of a full recovery.
The three H’s are important: ‘Happy, healthy and at home’.
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