Your elderly father is being hospitalized right now for a serious illness, and thankfully it looks like he’s going to be O.K. Dad is scheduled to be discharged in a couple days, so right now you’re scrambling to coordinate his care once the hospital stay is over.

For many families, preparing to assist an elderly parent once they’ve left the hospital is a confusing and stressful time, especially when their loved one needs therapy and follow-up medical care. To help ensure that your parent’s recovery goes more smoothly, take these preparation steps.

Check Your Emotions

Many family members get anxious while anticipating their loved one’s discharge date, and that’s understandable. If the hospital stay was for a serious illness or surgery, it’s also natural to be worried and scared. However, you can’t think clearly if your emotions are getting in the way. Take a deep breath, focus on the task at hand, and prepare yourself mentally to line up for dad in advance the best care possible before he comes home.

Get a Discharge Plan in Writing

A discharge planner from the hospital can sit down with you and discuss a care plan for dad based on his doctor’s orders. Make sure that you get a written copy of the discharge plan, and that it clearly includes these instructions:

  • Where your parent should go after leaving the hospital, whether it’s their own home, your home, a long-term