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Tips to make a visit to the hospital easier for individuals with dementia Anthem Memory Care

5 Tips to Make an Emergency Hospital Visit Easier

If you have ever been in a situation where you need to take someone to the hospital you know the anxiety that accompanies that journey. After all, no one is at their best when experiencing pain and discomfort, let alone worry over what’s happening and how it will all turn out.

When that loved one is challenged with dementia, emotions and anxiety levels can escalate an already serious health issue.

If you are like most family caregivers, you are probably not prepared to handle these kinds of sudden, unexpected emergencies. But with a little planning, you can be.

The National Institute on Aging released a comprehensive list of ways to better handle emergency hospital visits for a loved one with dementia.

Here are five key tips:

  1. Don’t handle it alone. Identify a family member, friend or neighbor in advance who would be willing to meet you at the hospital. Keep their phone number handy.
  2. Explain your situation to the front desk staff. This should be done immediately upon arrival. Explain the cognitive and behavioral challenges of your loved one along with the issue at hand.
  3. Stay calm. This is never easy, but if you are able to remain calm, there is a better chance that your loved one will as well.
  4. Keep an emergency bag with essentials handy. What to include? Health insurance card, list of all medications and any that may be needed while waiting, a warm sweater or jacket for your loved (waiting rooms can be cold), a magazine or other things to do while waiting, a water bottle and a small snack, such as a granola bar.
  5. Be an effective advocate for your loved one. You will be more successful by refraining to take out your frustration on hospital staff. They may not be trained in dementia and will need to be filled in on your love one’s special needs. Be firm and direct. But remind yourself that they are operating in a hectic environment, serving a steady stream of patients. Showing them that you recognize this can make a big difference.

While emergencies don’t wait for a convenient time to occur, you can meet them more effectively by being prepared in advance. Have your emergency bag stowed in a convenient place. Have phone numbers handy and other essentials ready to go.

By having an action plan in place and following the tips above, you can be prepared to meet the moment with as little unnecessary disruption as possible.