How to make hospital admissions productive

From my last post, you'll know that my Mother was admitted into the oncology ward of the local hospital to be treated for neutropenic sepsis after her first cycle of chemotherapy.  She was very tired and being heavily treated to the point that she ended up bed ridden for 7 days.  She is finally at a turning point and stable but I was surprised by how much her first hospital admission affected her confidence.  The medical team have concentrated on her health but as a family, we have had to support her in the rebuilding of her morale.  Prior to admission, she became very ill at home. In hospital, she built a false sense of security in the cocoon like environment which thrives on rhythm and routine.  To the point that she almost feared leaving the hospital environment.  This, I know, is not her as my mother actually hates hospitals.  It has taken me some time to realise this and as a carer, find ways to motivate and encourage her.  This is something the doctors do not teach you, the overworked nurses do not have time for and support groups, too distanced from the situation, cannot advise.  So here are some of the things that I found helped:
  1. Ask the person you're caring for what they are scared of and their fears.  Choose a quiet time and discuss what their expectations are, when they leave the hospital.  For example, to be able to walk independantly; to be medically sound etc.  Relay the fears to the medical team and ask how they can assist the person you are caring for.
  2. Have a plan.  Ask the medical team when discahrge is likely, remind everyone of the plan and reinforce it to ensure everyone is working to the same date.  This will eliminate the shock and everyone, the medical team, the patient, the carer can work to the same discahrge date.
  3. With a discharge date, plot out what needs to be achieved on a daily basis to be able to meet the date.  It is the medical team's responsibiltiy to ensure you are medically sound to be discharged but it's your responsibility to ensure you are psycholigically and emotionally fit at discharge.  Make arrangements to ensure you can leave hospital on your discharge date.  Ask friends to help you wirth grocery shopping.  This will mentally prepare you to be discharged.  
  4. Exercise, exercise, exercise.  The hosptial environemtn is not conducie to exercise and this can be emotionally stifling. I  have seen so many cases of people, previously active, being bed ridden as soon as they are admitted to hospital.  Taking this very basic capacity and independance away from a person can be emotionally damaging.
Hospital admissions are depressing, debilittaiting and the hours can be long.  If you have the mindset that the admission should be productive, this will keep your spiritis up and allow you to take control of your hospital visit. 

Do you have any tips to keep people motivated during hospital admissions?  I'd be grateful if you could share them in the comments below.



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