Readmission after an illness or injury is a serious health issue for seniors. It is important for seniors and their loved ones to remember that in many cases, readmission is avoidable and can be prevented with a thoughtful post-hospital care plan.
Nearly one-fifth of Medicare patients in the U.S. who are discharged from the hospital return within 30 days. There are many reasons for this, and healthcare agencies are focused on finding ways to reduce readmissions and educate patients about how to have a healthier recovery at home.
For many seniors, this means having a quality caregiver that can help them overcome some of the main preventable causes for returning to the hospital. Consider the following:
- Medication is critical. Some seniors need assistance taking medication in the right amount on the correct schedule. On average, seniors with chronic conditions fill 50 different prescriptions annually, so it is not difficult to imagine how they could get confused. Caregivers can remind seniors to take medications as prescribed, and help seniors keep a list of medications and dosages so the information is readily available at all times. Managing medications is one of the best ways a caregiver can help seniors during their recovery.
- Follow up visits prevent readmission. Two-thirds of patients readmitted to the hospital would have avoided the trip if they had seen their physicians within two weeks for a follow up visit. Reasons for not following up can include transportation difficulties and forgetting to make or keep appointments. Hospital staff can aid seniors by setting up appointments before discharge, but getting to the appointment can still be a challenge. Among other services, caregivers can provide transportation to appointments and keep track of post-care visits.
- Discharge plans only work when implemented properly. Having a discharge plan for the patient before leaving the hospital can be crucial for recovery, but can be difficult for seniors and their family members to focus on during the stress of discharge. Caregivers can help the senior follow the instructions, and will connect with family and health care providers when there are problems or a change in condition during recovery. They can also help explain the information or ensure that the appropriate person is notified if the senior has questions about treatment. This takes the stress off the family and the patient to focus on recovery.
Having a helping hand during recovery can help with positive outcomes and a return to an active, engaged life. Family members, friends and neighbors are often willing to serve as a post-hospital recovery caregiver, but there is professional help available for those who don’t have someone nearby to assist them. For long-term recovery, those who have the assistance of friends and family can benefit from a professional caregiver to provide respite care and support.
Comfort Keepers Can Help
Comfort Keepers caregivers can help with encouragement, support and assistance with daily living. Caregivers can encourage overall health through meal planning and preparation, grocery shopping, and activities. Custom care plans focus on physical and mental health and wellness activities.
To learn more about in-home care services, contact 603-536-6060 or visit nhcomfortkeepers.com.