Hospital Stays

Seniors hate hospitals and for good reason. Older folks often lose a lot of basic skills during hospital stays because they don’t get up and about enough, can’t sleep properly, and can’t eat the food they like. Hospitals are also a major source of new infections that had nothing to do with the original illness. Of course nobody stays in a hospital by choice, so if your loved one has to go, here is our advice.

Planned Stays

When your loved one has a planned hospital stay, like for a scheduled surgery, you’ll have some time to prepare your loved one and yourself. Here is a short list of things you should bring:

- Medicare card and any other insurance cards
- List of all their regular meds and allergies. The Kinto Medications Tool makes this very easy and then the list will always be in your pocket!
- List of their doctors and their phone numbers. Again, the Kinto Care Circle Tool makes this easy and the list will always be available.
- A copy of any Advance Directive documents. The Kinto Legal Tool lets you take a picture of these documents so you have them handy.
- Bag with bathrobe, slippers, toothbrush, shampoo, hearing aids, reading glasses, dentures, etc. Hospitals are cold and harsh, so a few comforts from home will be welcome. An eye mask for sleeping can be especially helpful because most hospitals have lights on all the time.
- Books, magazines, movies, for your loved one and yourself. You’re both going to spend a lot of time waiting around.
- Something to take notes with. When doctors and nurses come by, you’ll get a lot of information all at once. Don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat things and take notes.

Be sure to have a conversation with your loved one's doctor so you will know exactly what to expect before they stay. Ask if they can eat and drink before they come and what meds {they should or should not take. Keep track of when they last ate and took meds.

Unplanned Stays

An unplanned stay in the hospital usually starts with a trip to the Emergency Room. The things you’ll need aren’t really any different from a planned stay except that you probably won’t have time to grab anything before you go. The best thing is to do a bit of planning ahead, especially with the Medication List, Care Circle, and Legal Documents so you always have them when you need them. Usually you can ask a family member or friend to gather the other items while you are at the hospital.

Looking After Yourself

Don’t forget to look after your own health while your loved one is in the hospital. There will be long periods of time when there is nothing you can do, and you should use those times to eat and rest yourself. Don’t forget that when they come home, they will need a lot more looking after and it won’t help for you to also be exhausted!