Going to the hospital is a stressful experience, whether the admission is planned or an emergency, and whether you have done this many times before with your family member or this is the first time. Just getting to the hospital may involve calling an ambulance, making last-minute arrangements, and, of course, managing your own and your family member’s anxiety. Whatever the circumstances, you will be less overwhelmed if you understand the process and have planned ahead for an admission or an emergency.
The guides in this section will help you through the admission process and plan for your family member’s discharge. They can also help make sure you and your family member have what you need on the day of discharge.
Knowing what to expect from a hospital admission process and the actual stay can help you and your family member. The Hospital Admission guide will provide you with important information about the process. It is also a good idea to be familiar with rules and regulations. All hospitals are required to follow HIPAA rules on sharing information. It is important that you understand your rights as a family caregiver under the HIPAA law. Our guide, HIPAA: Questions and Answers for Family Caregivers can help you with that.
If your family member has an Advance Directive form filled out, it’s important that you bring it with you to the hospital. If not, now is the time to complete one. The guide to Advance Directives can help you in the process.
Having your family member’s medical information centralized in one place, can ease the process in the hospital whether it’s an emergency or not. Your Family Member’s Personal Health Record and the Medication Management Form can help you be prepared to answer the various questions you will be asked in the hospital.
While in the hospital it is important to start planning for discharge as soon as possible. The Hospital-to-Home Discharge Guide will give you the basic information about the discharge process and get you started asking questions. What Do I Need as a Family Caregiver is a form that can help you understand what you will need in order to help your family member after the discharge. During a hospitalization medications often change; the guide to Medication Management and the Medication Management Form will help you understand the process of medication reconciliation so that you know what has been changed and what remains the same.
Going Home: What You Need to Know is a simple checklist that organizes the various tasks and supplies you will need. This is a lot to think about, but these guides will help you organize this information and plan ahead.
If your family member is referred for home care services, be sure to read Home Care: A Family Member’s Guide so that you have a realistic expectation of what services are likely to be provided.
If you family member is referred for rehabilitation services, be sure to read about Short-Term Rehab Services in an Inpatient Setting.
Finally, we recommend that you read about Emergency Room (ER) Visits which will help you limit these visits to real emergencies and help you understand the way care is provided in this setting.