“How can I help?” is an important and pressing question on many people’s minds when it comes to supporting Mum or Dad on their safe return from a stay in hospital.
If you feel like you want to help but are not sure where to begin, this article is for you!
In this article we look at two key points along the recovery journey and how mobile physiotherapy contributes to a successful recovery:
- Before leaving hospital
- What is discharge planning?
- The importance of discharge planning
- Who begins this process?
- Rehab in the home
- What is rehab at home?
- The importance of rehab at home
- How to get in touch with health care providers
Before leaving hospital
Discharge planning refers to the development of a personalised plan for a patient leaving hospital. It is the link between treatment in hospital and the care required once in the community.
Did you know that nearly 20% of patients experience a negative event within 30 days of discharge? But research has shown that a whopping 75% of these could have been prevented or reduced with simply by appropriate discharge planning.
This process should be initiated by hospital staff on admission and ideally involves the patient, family, carers and relevant hospital staff. Discharge planning will occasionally be coordinated by a discharge planner (a hospital staff member dedicated to discharge planning).
Rehab in the home
Rehab at home is a crucial part of an elderly parent’s recovery. Often, the immediate period after return home poses the highest risk of re-injury as the patient is keen to return to old routines but may not have the capacity to do so.
Rehab in the home enables a person to be in a familiar environment, address needs specific to their current living situation and means no clumsy travel.
It is helpful to engage with a physiotherapist and occupational therapist at this point, especially if you are waiting for an ACAT assessment to occur (more information on ACAT below). You do not want to have weeks or months with no intervention between discharge from hospital and the start of government-funded services as this can significantly limit recovery.
An occupational therapist in this role can assess the home environment and provide potential equipment to increase patient safety and ease of movement around the home.
A physiotherapist will look specifically at physical recovery including mobility, balance, falls prevention and regaining lost muscle strength and endurance that accompanies a hospital visit.
(If you have questions about rehab in the home or the general processes following a hospital stay, or you would like to arrange a mobile physiotherapist home visit, please contact our team on 1300 797 793).
The story of George – What does rehab at home look like in action?
George is an 81-year-old gentleman who was recently out watering his garden and tripped over the hose. Unfortunately, this resulted in a fractured hip. In good news, George had access to a hospital and could get the help he needs to repair the break.
After recovery in hospital, George was ready and keen to return home. His daughter, Elisabeth, was involved with his discharge in planning in hospital, and left with clear instructions of how to look after George, expectations for recovery and a few follow-up appointments.
Elisabeth stayed with George for a few weeks while he got back on his feet again. She got in touch with her GP to arrange an ACAT assessment once George required additional support at home. She also contacted a private occupational therapist (OT) and physiotherapist to review him in the meantime. The OT suggested a chair for the toilet, a few handy layout adjustments, and chair raisers to assist George in his day-to-day life.
The physio helped manage George’s pain and assessed George’s mobility, developing an exercise program to help him return to safely moving about his home. Both therapists visit on a regular basis and provide tips for Elisabeth about manual handling and simple exercises to help George speed up his recovery.
Then it’s ACAT’s turn: a team comes by and assesses George, setting him up with the additional services that match his needs.
George responds well to rehab at home and is back gardening again, this time with renewed strength, in a safe environment.
My Aged Care and this ‘ACAT’ Assessment – what are they exactly?
If you have an elderly parent, you may or may not have heard of an ‘ACAT Assessment’, or ‘My Aged Care’.
My Aged Care is a Federal Government initiative designed to help people find and access government-funded aged care services. ACAT stands for ‘Aged Care Assessment Team’ and refers to the people who carriy out the assessments.
If you are looking to set this up the best thing to do is to head to the My Aged Care website where you can do an eligibility assessment to see what services are available, and if Mum or Dad qualify, and then book in an assessment.
There is currently a fairly long wait for assessments at the moment, but pro tip, if you chat to the GP then sometimes that can get things fast tracked. Once assessed, you will get approval for a level of home care package (1, 2, 3 or 4), and go on a waiting list for a home care package provider.
Article written by Emily Johnson – TPC Physiotherapist