Vincent Matthews spends most of his day talking to elder patients spending time in the hospital. As the Older Adults coordinator at Mercy Health – St. Vincent Medical Center, he knows concerns of older generations going into the hospital differ from those who are younger.
“A visit to the emergency room for older adults creates more stress because the accommodations are different, evaluations take longer and discharge planning can be complex,” said Vincent.
While going to the hospital may cause some anxiety, there are ways to make your loved one feel more at home. Vincent said there are ways to relieve worries and bring comfort to the patient during a hospital stay.
- Follow safety guidelines
When visiting a loved one at the hospital, please remember that safety and well-being is of the utmost importance for both the patient and the visitor. Following guidelines put in place by the hospitals and masking appropriately will help to protect you and those around you during the visit. The best way to protect yourself and our community is to get vaccinated.
- Bring something from home
Vincent recommends bringing your loved one photos, favorite items, or activity books from home to place in their room to remind them of their life outside of the hospital. Sometimes something as simple as a favorite pair of slippers or a warm blanket can alleviate anxiety. Other items visitors may want to consider bringing include protective containers for eyeglasses and dentures, discharge clothes, and even blankets or a sleep mask to help them rest. These items can bring comfort and may be able to relieve some stress that is caused by their hospital stay.
- Important Legal Items
Once patients are settled in their hospital room, it is important that they have all legal documents that could be needed. Patients may need their photo ID, insurance cards, list of medications, family phone contacts, power of attorney for health care and a living will. Having these items on hand is important and can make the stay less stressful for both the health care professionals and the patient.
- Items to Avoid
Relieve anxiety by leaving expensive and valuable items at home. While comfort items can help bring relief, valuable items may bring more anxiety as patients may be worried about where the items are placed during the stay. Leaving them at home will help keep patients’ minds focused on healing and not on material objects.