Having an elderly parent undergo surgery can be a scary proposition. The senior population is frailer and more prone to complications than younger people. However, making sure that you and your mom or dad fully prepare for the procedure will ensure the best chances for success. Below are a few tips that we've picked up along the way.
Know what to expect
Make sure to do your research on all angles of the procedure. What type of anesthetic will be used? How long will the actual procedure take? What potential risks/complications are involved? How long is the recovery time? Understanding as much as possible about what to expect will reduce stress for both you and your parent.
Keep medical history organized
An aging parent may have quite a lengthy medical history. Keep this information stored in an easily accessible form. Rather than an enormous folder or stack of papers, keep a document on your computer that charts diagnoses, treatments, key dates, family history and other pertinent information. Be as detailed as possible. You never know what information will be relevant in the future.
Keep medications organized
As with medical history, your parent may also have quite a few medications that he or she is taking. Never rely on memory to communicate this information to your parent’s doctor. Maintain an accurate medication record sheet and have extra copies available. Also include any herbal remedies and over-the-counter medications. When the doctor asks for this information at the pre-surgical evaluation, you can just hand over a copy and avoid errors or discrepancies.
Follow preparation instructions carefully
There are reasons for these instructions. Whether they are to fast the night before, or not take certain medications, your parent should follow these guidelines completely. Disregarding these instructions could lead to postponing the procedure or worse, a less than optimal outcome.
Arrange for transportation
Don’t just think about the actual day of the procedure. Of course you’ll want to make arrangements for arrival and discharge, but also think about the recovery period. For every day an elderly person spends recovering in a hospital, they often require two days of rehabilitation. If you can’t take your parent to rehab sessions, make sure they have a safe and reliable ride from a family member or a medical transportation provider.
Concerned about transportation arrangements related to a parent’s surgery? Let On Time’s professionals help you. We have over 25 years of experience and a proven track record of safe and reliable medical transportation in New Jersey and the tri-state area.