How to Support an Older Adult During a Temporary Rehab Hospital Stay

caregiver handing senior lady flowers
Make a temporary rehab hospital stay feel more like home with these tips.


After a hospitalization or surgical procedure, the physician may recommend a temporary rehab hospital stay prior to the person returning home. This is usually a short-term time of intensive therapy to promote healing and recovery. However, the thought of moving into an assisted living facility or nursing home even for a matter of weeks or months can be extremely difficult to accept.

What are the best ways to help a person through this challenging life event? There are a number of steps you can take to help overcome feelings of fear, anxiety, and homesickness during a temporary facility or rehab hospital stay.

  • Personalize the room. The facility will supply the bare necessities: a bed, chair, and dresser. Make the space feel more like home by bringing in items such as a favorite pillow and quilt, family photos, as well as other small memorabilia. Pack their favorite lotion, shampoo, as well as other personal care items, along with comfortable clothes. Use caution, however, about bringing any items of special significance or value. This applies to clothing as well, which could get lost or delivered to the wrong person during the laundering process.
  • Be a motivator. Your family member will have a regimen of activities and exercises to work on with their physical, occupational, and/or speech therapist. If the individual and staff agree, attend therapy sessions along with the person. Find out what is involved with their recovery process, and exactly how you can best provide encouragement. For example, they might be encouraged to walk whenever possible. Taking walks together during your visits can offer the motivation they need to reach their goals.
  • Visit often. You might feel as though the individual is receiving all of the care they need, and that infrequent or short visits are fine. However, your presence and companionship are invaluable during this period. Pack a sandwich and join the person for lunch. Play games and cards together. Bring a book for the senior to read when you are gone, and read the same book yourself, so you can discuss it together. Or simply sit with them and invite them to talk about whatever is on their heart.

You can also ask the physician if in-home recovery is an option. If so, Golden Harmony is here to assist each step of the way! We can start by helping to prepare the house for the person’s discharge from the hospital. This can include grocery shopping so there are sufficient amounts of healthy food options available, picking up prescriptions, and performing a safety check to reduce fall risks. Once back at home, we can provide medication reminders, take care of light housekeeping, prepare meals, assist with walking and transfers, and much more. Through it all, we are here with friendly companionship to brighten the process of recovery at home.

Contact us any time or call us at 919-426-7522 to find out more about how we can help with in-home post-hospitalization care services in Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, and other nearby locations!