Last Friday night around 11:30 p.m. Boca Home Care Services’ 24 hour answering service received a call from an adult son whose mother (Mrs. T – 87 years old, living alone) was sent to the Emergency Room at Boca Community Hospital after falling in her hallway.
Understandably the son was frantic as he lives out of state and could not be there with her. After finding Boca Home Care Services on Google he called the toll free number and within a few minutes our on call Coordinator, Millie was qualifying the call and getting pertinent information in order to send an experienced home health nursing aide to the hospital and stay with his mother so she would not be alone in the hospital in the middle of the night. Millie sent our Service Agreement to the son who was arranging a flight to Florida the next day.
Saturday morning the son called Millie again to inform her that his mother was being discharged from the hospital at noon with no one to take her home or stay with her. Millie assured the son that the aide from the night shift will be replaced with a daytime aide who will go to the hospital, follow the discharge, take her home and begin live in service until the son is able to assess his mother’s current situation, safety needs and make a coherent plan of care.
Mrs. T. is doing much better. She no longer requires live in care but is receiving assistance from an aide every morning. During the week, Mr. T was contacted by a Geriatric Care Manager from Boca Home Care Services to discuss a care plan which includes ordering an emergency response button, continued home care and physical therapy to improve her balance and increase her strength.
This scenario of an adult child receiving a call from a Florida hospital or Emergency team regarding a parent’s fall or accident resulting in injury is not uncommon.
Boca Home Care Services is able to handle a call for help around the clock and coordinate services rapidly. We appreciate how scary it is to be in an E.R. or hospital alone or to be the adult child living far away. We create a service plan for a certified caregiver to reach the client as quickly as possible, validate other important information, communicate with the hospital staff and build in other necessary supportive services such as Medicare home health professionals and a Geriatric Care Manager to assist the family members as well.
Fortunately Mr. T. has a limited Power of Attorney and is a Medical Surrogate for his mother and was able to receive information from the hospital staff and provide details of his mother’s primary physician and some of her medications. He now has the number of one of his mother’s close neighbors and friend and is arranging for her to have a key to his mother’s home.
With the addition of a home health aide a few hours each morning, physical therapy and an emergency response button both Mrs. T. and her son have greater peace of mind about her continuing to live on her own independently.
Rules of thumb for family members:
1. Arrange for someone in the family to have a Power of Attorney and Medical Surrogate so information can be more easily attained.
2. Have on hand the names of your parent’s primary doctor, close friend or neighbor, someone locally with a key to parent’s home,
3. Have an updated list of parent’s medications and OTC medicines.
4. Know basic information about a parent’s current medical conditions and medical history.
5. Keep attuned to any changes in parent’s physical and cognitive (memory) abilities.
6. Plan now for the next couple of years. This includes legal and financial planning. Assess with your parent whether or not they are safe at home an able to manage personal care and running the household on their own –including bill paying. Also, discuss where the parent would choose to live if he or she can no longer live at home.