Caring for a Family Member in the Hospital
Caring for a family member in the hospital became my reality once more when the nurse at my mother’s long term care facility called.
“Your mom is being sent to the ER by ambulance.”
“I’ll be there in ten minutes. Don’t send her until I get there.” Thus, my 93-year-old Mom’s recent hospital stay was launched. Mine and my brother’s, too.
Caregivers, you know what I’m talking about, right?
My brother and I took turns staying with Mom each day. She napped a lot, and I had plenty of time to compare this stint caring for a family member in the hospital to the one that introduced me to the job. Two revelations hit me like a ton of bricks.
- Forty years ago this spring my son’s arrival was a crash course in caring for someone in the hospital.
- Forty years later, the basics of caring for a family member, whether a child or adult, in the hospital remain the same.
The former of the two revelations has been over and done with for a long time. Forty years done as of this writing. A fact that astonishes me every time I do the math.
The latter of the two revelations, however, led to present day actions that made Mom’s hospital stay smoother and easier. Maybe what worked for Mom can help you do the same when the loved ones in your care are hospitalized.
#1: Make Yourself Useful
Show the doctors, nurses, and personal care workers that you are a valuable member of the care team by making yourself useful. Interpret what your loved one is trying to communicate. Be a calming influence when a painful procedure is in the works. When Mom’s care team saw me ease her anxiety by stroking her hair and coaching her to breathe deeply, they welcomed my presence during blood draws and dressing changes.
To read the rest of Caring for a Family Member in the Hospital, visit the Key Ministry website for special needs parents.
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Jolene Philo is the author of the Different Dream series for parents of kids with special needs. She speaks at parenting and special needs conferences around the country. She’s also the creator and host of the Different Dream website. Sharing Love Abundantly with Special Needs Families: The 5 Love Languages® for Parents Raising Children with Disabilities, which she co-authored with Dr. Gary Chapman, was released in August of 2019 and is available at local bookstores, their bookstore website, and at Amazon. The first book in her cozy mystery series, See Jane Run!, features people with disabilities and will be released in June of 2022.
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