It is hard enough to deal with a family medical emergency, besides having to deal with the instantaneous relocation process it may require. My late husband and I were quickly uprooted from rural Pennsylvania to Baltimore, Maryland at Johns Hopkins medical. Within 24 hours, I needed to wrap up loose ends in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and temporarily move myself to Baltimore, Maryland.
A quick relocation is never an easy adjustment. The first thing to do when you find out you need to relocate, is to make a list of everything that needs done on a necessity-only basis before you leave. Delegation is key to getting all the duties finished. Do the things that no one else can do but yourself, and delegate everything else. If there are things that can wait for several days, let them go, or make sure they get done by someone else in the next few days. Make sure you get these errands done in just a few hours. Any more than that can be too stressful for you to handle in these circumstances.
Before leaving for the hospital, make sure you secure some housing. I made the mistake of coming down late in the night and spent my first night sleeping on a double chair in the waiting room. It is important for you to be supportive to your family member, but you need to take care of yourself. Find a place to stay before you come down, if only for that first night. You can arrange long term details the next day when you are more settled.
Once you are at the new hospital, make an appointment with the social worker to find more affordable accomodations. Most hospitals have arrangements with local hotels or B&B’s to get affordable rates. Also, before meeting with the social worker, make a list of any/all questions about the new area you are staying in and the medical care your loved one will be receiving. If you are unsure of your financial means, please also make an appointment with a financial counselor to discuss those options.
After you have secured housing, make sure to visit a grocery store and stock the refrigerator, if available. If not, you may also want to look into purchasing meal tickets to better assist in the cost of food. If you are parking in a parking garage, also look into long term parking plans to make it more affordable.
It can be a very stressful time when relocating on an emergency basis. Getting to know a new area is hard, as well as the guilt that most people feel when leaving their loved one alone in the hospital. Please know that while it is important for you to be supportive of your loved one, you must also take care of yourself. Get rest, drink lots of water, and eat proper, balanced meals. While it is easier said than done, this is of most importance when dealing with a medical emergency.
Another great thing to remember is communication. It can be hard to be on the phone constantly while calling friends and family and updating them about your loved one’s condition. Delegate one person to handle the incoming phone calls other than yourself. Also consider starting a website or blog where people can log on and leave comments and read the most current progress. This is a great tool to connect with the outside world.
When it comes to financial difficulties, no matter how wealthy or poor you are, do not hesitate to reach out to those around you. Consider holding a fundraiser or simply ask for donations from those around you. Most people are happy to support you during these difficult times. There may also be special funds available through non profits and the hospital.
When it comes to making a hasty relocation, reach out to those around you for support and take care of yourself. It is important to keep faithful and strong for the loved one experiencing the medical problems, but you must also feel free to openly grieve and get comfort from your other family and friends. Know that you are not the first, nor the last to go through this, and push on for a quick, smooth recovery for all.