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How to ease a hospital stay for someone with dementia | Seniors

For those suffering from dementia, a hospital can be an extremely inhospitable environment, as hazardous conditions may present themselves at every turn. No one likes a trip to the hospital, but some visits cannot be avoided. Recent research findings have concluded that individuals who suffer from dementia are at a greater risk for having negative outcomes after care in a hospital. Even a short time in the medical center may severely intensify the dementia, and make the sufferer more susceptible to falls and malnutrition.

As a caregiver, there are things that can be done to make the hospital stay a less traumatic one for the dementia-sufferer. Here are some helpful tips that can relieve the stress and decrease the likelihood of exacerbating the condition.

• Prepare your loved one in advance

If the hospital visit or stay is planned in advance, there are ways to make the transition a bit easier. Pre-packing a hospital kit with pertinent medical insurance information and medications should be completed ahead of time. You may also want to pack a change of clothes, favorite snacks and a pen and paper for note taking.

• Explain and over-explain what is going on

If your loved one is able to understand and comprehend what you are saying, be sure to communicate what is happening. They may have a lot of questions and you must be ready and available to answer those questions in a reassuring manner. If you are agitated and stressed, your loved one may pick up on the emotions and become upset.

• Try to get a private room

Due to insurance regulations or overcrowding, getting a private room in the hospital may be impossible but certainly worth a try. For a person with dementia, a private room may be more relaxing and peaceful. The private room will also allow other family members to visit without the worry of imposing on the privacy of a roommate.

• Never leave their side

For a dementia-stricken person, having familiar face by their side in the hospital can do wonders for keeping them calm and reassured. It is important to try to arrange to be with your loved one as much as possible, especially in the evening, when medical tests are being performed and during meals.

• Bring in something familiar and from home

A favorite pillow, blanket or photograph of familiar faces can help keep your loved one calm while in the hospital. Having a token from home that your loved one can look at or hold may help them feel more at ease in an otherwise unfamiliar place and situation.

A post-hospital stay may be recommended upon discharge, rehabilitative services are offered at local skilled nursing facilities and local assisted living communities. Aegis Lodge offers all inclusive, short term and post-hospital stays at $175 a day.

For more information please contact Sandra Cook at Aegis Lodge, a local Assisted Living and Memory Care community in Kirkland at 425-814-2841 or at Sandra.cook@aegisliving.com

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