When a patient needs to be admitted unexpectedly to hospital, it is a stressful time for both the patient and their family. Here are five tips for supporting a loved one through an unexpected hospital stay:
Hospitals can feel like mazes with crazy rules (why can’t I just use the washroom in my loved one’s room?) You are likely to feel scattered and not able to remember what you normally would. This is okay and usual. It will take time to find a new normal. Visit the facility’s webpages, talk to staff, take notes, and bring in additional help if you need it.
2. Participating in care
Not sure how you can help? Tell care givers about what your loved one enjoys, download music, games or movies for your loved one, talk or read to your loved one, take notes about care plans, and be sure to express any concerns to the staff.
3. Important to care for yourself
You can’t be at your loved one’s side 24/7. It’s not healthy. Perhaps coordinate a rotating visiting schedule with family members. Find a balance that works for you.
4. Find coping strategies for you
Emotions can be unpredictable. Find ways to cope that work for you and your other loved ones.
5. Hope is powerful
There is often a fine line between being hopeful and being realistic. Talk to the care providers. Ask questions. And be supportive of your loved one as recovery is rarely a straight line.