All About Estates

It’s Friday afternoon at 4:00 pm & your mom is being discharged home.

This was the frantic call I received from a daughter this past Friday. The hospital was discharging her 90 year old mother but had omitted to confirm that services and follow up medical appointments were in place. Now in many cases, this might not be a problem- depending on the health of the patient. But in this particular case, her mom had high care needs and in addition to 24 hour private pay care (that was in place), public supports including nursing and dietary services were also required. Her mom was returning home after being treated for pneumonia. Prior to this admission she had been home for less than one week, after having spent several months as an inpatient following a severe stroke. She remained immobile and was on a feeding tube.

On this late Friday afternoon, she was sent home with a requisition for blood work to be done the next day; however it was not arranged to be done at her home. She was also sent home with new medications that had to be administered by a feeding tube, yet the community nurse (from the LHIN) was not yet in place. Even with the use of a Hoyer (mechanical) lifting device, she required 2 people to transfer her and her 90 something year old husband was not physically able assist the private PSW.

What are families to do who find themselves in this unfortunate situation?

When things are complicated, my advice is not to be discharged home on a Friday and never before a long weekend. If unavoidable, request a discharge meeting so that all team members can provide their recommendations and that any required referrals can be arranged with assurances that the gears are in motion. This is the opportunity for family to ask questions and raise any concerns that they may have. If you are fortunate to have extended family, have one person assigned as the key contact. In many cases with seniors who are in poor health, there simply is no room for error.

In the above situation, this family was fortunate as they were able to get us involved; we made the necessary calls at 7:00 pm on a Friday night to ensure that a nurse was coming to provide the night time medications. This should not have been necessary. For the majority of families that are on their own it really is important to push back, ask questions and sometimes ‘no thank you’ is the right answer.

About Audrey Miller
About: Audrey Miller, Managing Director of Elder Caring Inc. has over 30 years social work and rehabilitation experience working with older individuals and their families. She advises the financial, insurance, legal and business communities regarding elder care issues. Audrey is a recognized expert in her field. Email:


  1. Anne MacKay

    December 9, 2019 - 3:15 pm

    What a thoughtful explanation, Audrey. Thank you.

  2. Catharine Williams

    December 9, 2019 - 5:20 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this information. Adult children who have not gone through this yet, do not know that this is happening. This is happening so frequently now. As an accountant, I am surprised to find myself sharing this information with clients as well, but we need to let people know that pushing back the system is required.

  3. Audrey

    December 9, 2019 - 7:09 pm

    Thanks Catharine, you are so right. Like so many things, people often have to have their own first hand experience before the information is heard and can then be beneficial.

  4. Yolanda Benoit

    December 9, 2019 - 9:32 pm

    Thank you for sharing this story, Audrey. Sending his elderly patient home with her recent medical history would be enough of a stressor for most families (for fear of a reoccurance )but to not have the necessary assistance and information is even more stressful.
    And it doesnt have to be. Thank you for sharing your advice and saying that it is perfectly acceptable to say “No, no discharge ” until one has all of the necessary assistance in place.
    The medical system is struggling so we must advocate for our loved ones.

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