Going to the emergency room with your elderly parent can be a frightening experience for both of you. Being as prepared as possible is an important part of not only helping your parent make the most of the care that they will receive while they are in the emergency room, but also helping yourself to stay calm, controlled, and confident throughout the experience.
Items that you should pack when bringing your parent to the emergency room include:
Be sure that you have all of the personal and insurance information that you might need when registering your parent. Keep in mind that a trip to the emergency room could result in a longer-term admission, so have all of your parent’s insurance information available to streamline this process.
The wait at an emergency room can be long and tedious, and if your parent’s needs are not pressing and the department is busy, you might find yourself sitting around for hours awaiting treatment or discharge. This can result in boredom and frustration. If your parent is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, this could also mean negative behaviors such as combativeness and difficulty. Bring along simple forms of entertainment to keep your parent’s mind engaged. This can include paperback books, puzzle books, a simple craft project such as crocheting, or even an adult coloring book and colored pencils or crayons.
You never know what might happen while your parent is in the emergency room. Bring along a set of fresh clothing such as a sweatsuit or light cotton pants and T-shirt, clean undergarments, and clean socks so that if there is an incident your parent can change and feel fresh while in the hospital or before leaving.
A small kit including lotion, lip balm, hand sanitizer, contact care supplies or an extra pair of glasses, and tissues can help your aging parent, and you, to stay more comfortable throughout your time in the emergency room. Whenever possible, choose items that are scent-free to prevent strong smells from causing discomfort to your parent, their medical team, or the patients around them while they wait or are in the emergency room.
If you are concerned about your parent’s health or safety while they are aging in place, now may be the ideal opportunity for you to consider starting home care for them. Having an in-home senior care services provider in the home with your elderly loved one can give you confidence that they are getting the care, support, and encouragement that they need to stay safe, healthy, comfortable, and active as they age in place. Through a personalized approach to care, this care provider can ensure that your loved one lives the highest quality of life possible while managing their individual needs. This can be especially helpful if your aging parent has recently been discharged from the emergency room and requires after surgery care to help them manage their recovery.