It’s not uncommon for an elderly adult to spend a few days in the hospital, whether for an emergency or a planned surgery or something in between. Family caregivers are often at their loved one’s bedside through their stay. They provide the seniors with support, elder care and in many cases, coordinate with doctors and nurses about treatment options.
Of course, such a time is stressful for family caregivers, and it is common for people to forget about some of the basic rules of hospital etiquette. Family caregivers can cultivate a better relationship with key personnel when they focus on learning and obeying the guidelines for visitors to the hospital. Few things will add tension to a relationship than when a non-patient violates policies or treats staff badly.
Here are 5 things that family caregivers must focus on when spending a lot of time at their elderly loved one’s hospital bedside:
1. Patient Needs Come First
Of course, everyone wants the elderly person to be as happy and healthy as possible. Everyone, including the family caregiver, should do what is best for the patient. Family caregivers should listen and advocate when necessary, but also trust the medical experts and hospital staff with their treatment plans.
2. Respect the Staff
Many family caregivers can become short-tempered with hospital staff during this time. There’s no reason to strongarm, boss or fight with the hospital staff to get what they want. Caregivers should remember that the nurses, orderlies, volunteers, and doctors are there to take care of patient needs and not the visitor’s needs.
3. Think About Privacy
There will be a lot of information shared between doctors and the patient or nurses and the patient. Family caregivers should talk to their elderly relative to make sure the information can include them. Details should not be shared with other family members or friends that drop by to visit. Privacy also refers to modesty and exposure. Caregivers and visitors should always knock before entering the room, for example.
4. Stop the Spread of Germs
Bringing in germs from the outside is a big mistake because hospitals are full of people with weakened immune systems. Caregivers and others should stay home if they have been diagnosed with any kind of contagious illness. They should also stay away if they have a fever, cough, runny nose or other obvious symptoms. Within the hospital, caregivers should wash their hands frequently and use hand sanitizer as well.
5. Follow Hospital Rules
Most hospitals have visitation rules on their website and near the lobby. Family caregivers should familiarize themselves with all the rules as they stay with their loved one and perform elder care duties. Rules about noise, smoking, visitation hours, banned items and more will help everyone in the hospital get along better and focus on healing and helping.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering a Senior Care in West Hampstead, NY, please contact the caring staff at Family First Home Companions. Serving all of Long Island. Call today: (631) 319-3961
Jennifer has specialized training in Alzheimer’s disease through the Long Island Alzheimer’s Association and the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation.She also volunteered her time with the Alzheimer's Disease Assistance Center of Long Island for 3 years by providing cognitive stimulation to an Alzheimer’s patient group.
Jennifer educates the community about elder care and speaks to caregiver support groups, senior centers, and at professional organizations.Topics include home safety, effective strategies for family caregiving, elder care planning, and awareness about elder abuse.
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