According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), people 65 and older represent almost 40 percent of adult hospitalizations. Having to go back to the hospital can be even more problematic for seniors, especially those with underlying health issues. Below are some of the main things families should know about hospital discharge and readmission.
1. Following Discharge Instructions Is Important
The first thing families should know is how important it is to pay attention to discharge instructions. It’s easy to not fully comprehend what’s being said if you’re busy juggling other tasks, such as signing discharge papers or making sure your senior loved one has his or her personal belongings. Avoid misunderstanding discharge instructions by:
• Repeating instructions back to the doctor
• Getting more complicated instructions in writing
• Asking for a contact number so you’ll have one person you can call if you need further clarification when your loved one gets home
2. All Medications Should Be Disclosed Prior to Discharge
When your loved one is discharged from the hospital, he or she will likely be given prescriptions for medications to manage pain or prevent infection. Taking extra meds post-discharge increases the risk of drug interactions that could result in readmissions. You can reduce this risk by making sure to disclose all medications your loved one is taking, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements.
3. Better Management of Chronic Conditions Reduces Readmissions
If your loved one is regularly hospitalized because of issues related to a chronic condition, see what you can do to better manage the condition to reduce readmissions. For instance, if your parent has diabetes, you might ask for a referral to a dietician or physical therapist so you can get diet and exercise tips for your loved one.
Some seniors only require help with a few daily tasks so they can maintain their independence. However, those living with serious illnesses may need more extensive assistance. Luckily, there is professional live-in care Clarksville, TN, seniors can rely on. Home can be a safer and more comfortable place for your loved one to live with the help of an expertly trained and dedicated live-in caregiver.
4. Knowing the Signs of Infection Can Prevent Readmissions
A study by Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine found that infection is the top cause of hospital readmissions following surgery. If your loved one is being discharged after a surgical procedure, be mindful of the signs that suggest he or she may have an infection. These include:
• Increased fatigue
• Continued or increased pain
• Unusual drainage around the wound site
A professional caregiver can monitor your loved one for post-hospitalization complications, reducing the chances of readmission. When searching for reliable homecare agencies, families want to know their senior loved one will be well taken care of. At Home Care Assistance, our expertly trained caregivers are available around the clock to assist with tasks around the house, provide transportation to medical appointments and social events, and much more.
5. Preparing the Home Prior to Discharge Is Important
Use the time prior to your loved one’s discharge to get the home ready, which might involve removing tripping hazards, putting frequently used items within easy reach to avoid excessive reaching or bending, and having appropriate assistance or comfort items available (e.g., a walker or cane or a grab bar that can be attached to the shower wall). If your loved one’s home is prepared well, it is less likely that he or she will need to go back to the hospital because of reinjury or a new injury.
6. Appropriate Supervision Reduces Readmissions
Retaining independence is beneficial for seniors. However, a lack of sufficient supervision after discharge also increases the risk of readmissions. An ideal solution for many families is arranging for in-home care. Services of this nature are typically provided on an as-needed basis according to what your loved one needs. This is especially helpful when family members aren’t able to provide care because of other obligations.
There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Home Care Assistance is a leading Clarksville elderly home care provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life. If you need professional home care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (931) 444-1950.