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While helping a loved one in the hospital last week, I enjoyed attending a couple of physical therapy sessions with several patients who had all had hip or knee replacement surgery and were in the recovery period at the hospital. As I did so, I noticed my relative was exercising with the wrong leg. I double-checked with the therapist who helped our sweet patient change leg. Once again I realized how valuable it can be to have a family member stay at the hospital as much as possible to help with caring for our elderly parents and relatives.
The nurses and other staff were wonderful! Very caring, very helpful, and very organized. But they each have several elderly patients to care for while we only have one. It definitely makes a positive difference to have us there.
Mentally, it can be a big plus as well. As news headlines have been reporting, aging seniors who are hospitalized often deal with mental challenges as a direct result of being in the hospital, having surgery, receiving anesthesia, etc. When we can be there to help, we can keep reminding them of things they may be forgetting. This can be especially important when it comes to doctor’s orders about when they can or can NOT get up on their own.
One of the nurses I talked to said that it was not uncommon for them to forget that they weren’t supposed to stand up without assistance from the medical team. It was a relief, though, to find that when it was an issue, they have alarms for chairs and beds to notify them if a patient is getting up when they aren’t supposed to. So if you can’t be there as much as you’d like with a senior parent, or have to run home to get fresh clothes, and you notice they are forgetting they can’t stand, be sure to mention it to the nurse as there are positive options. Nice to know that medical alert devices for elderly are just as valuable in the hospital as at home. 🙂