When your senior parent is placed in the hospital, it’s a scary time. You tend to panic a lot more when an elderly loved one is hospitalized than when a younger person is. After all, any minor illness could prove far more serious in the elderly than in the young.

There are so many decisions to make and you might not be ready to make them. It’s not surprising that people wonder what to do. If you take the right steps in advance, however, you can ease the burden both on your parents and on the family. Learn these four steps to take when your parent is hospitalized, and why estate planning should play a vital role in your senior parent’s life.

Create a Line of Communication with the Hospital

The first thing you need to do is learn who you need to talk to. It’s going to be imperative that you have a regular and reliable point of contact. All too often people get mixed messages from multiple different hospital staff, and having a single person (preferably the attending physician) can smooth things over greatly.

Learn all you can about the condition you’re facing. The more knowledge you have, the better prepared you’ll be to face and deal with anything that might follow. The doctor is your first resource for getting the education you need, but don’t discount personal research, either.

Consider Finances

Medical care is expensive, and the bills are going to stack up. Too many families don’t talk about finances, and it can create problems. You need to know if your parents have Medicare and what their coverage is like. Someone needs to be available to make the necessary financial decisions and if the parent is incapacitated the family may have to agree on this process or have someone legally appointed to do so.

Make Caregiving Decisions

There’s a possibility when your parent gets out of the hospital they won’t be able to care for themselves right away. Who is going to take care of them? Where will they live? How will their equipment, medication and medical needs be handled? These are important questions that the entire family (including your parents, if they are able) need to discuss and address.

Cover the Legalities of Estate Planning

There may be legal issues that crop up and need to be handled. Make sure that there are any advance directives in place. This includes powers of attorney for finances and medical decisions, living wills, final wishes and a range of other important decisions for which legal paperwork needs to be filed.  

The absolute best way to make sure that the necessary legalities and paperwork are covered is to secure the services of an experienced estate planning attorney. The right attorney can walk you through establishing important decisions that have to be made, dividing responsibilities among the family, and establishing power of attorney, wills, directives and management of estate assets. This can take a stressful situation and remove a lot of the potential anger, conflict and uncertainty that can arise. If you’re in this situation in Ohio, call Stano Law for help today.