Ideal Practices for Lowering Hospital Readmissions

By 8  am on

Seniors who are readmitted to the hospital shortly after being released are at increased risk for infection, sleep loss, and decubitus ulcers. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 20 percent of those over the age of 65 are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of release. Lowering the risk of hospital readmission can keep your senior loved one healthy. 

Make Sure Your Loved One Clearly Understands the Discharge Instructions

Many seniors feel overwhelmed when leaving the hospital. Lengthy discharge instructions may be difficult to understand. Seniors who don’t follow these directions may end up returning to the hospital. Clear, simplified instructions should be supplied in large, bold print so seniors with vision impairment can read them easily. Additionally, ask your loved one to repeat the instructions and take the time to ask questions to ensure he or she understands. 

Make sure all your loved one’s caregivers get copies of the instructions and understand them as well. Home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.

Form Strong Relationships with Community Providers

Seniors are often instructed to follow up with their primary care doctors or specialists after being released from the hospital, but it can seem overwhelming to coordinate insurance benefits and in-network providers when scheduling these appointments. Building relationships with community providers can help seniors easily navigate scheduling follow-up appointments and necessary tests. 

Reconcile Medications Before Leaving the Hospital

Medication reconciliation means ensuring no over-the-counter products, herbal remedies, vitamins, or prescribed medications have adverse effects when taken together. Seniors often aren’t aware their medications can interact with one another and cause side effects, secondary illnesses, and injury. Asking nurses to perform medication reconciliation and filling the prescriptions before leaving the hospital can prevent these effects from occurring.

A professional caregiver can provide medication reminders for your loved one after he or she returns home from the hospital. 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 Philadelphia, PA, 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.

Send All Medical Files Electronically to the Primary Care Physician

Your loved one’s primary care doctor is the main physician responsible for your loved one’s care. The primary care physician needs to know when your loved one has been admitted to the hospital to follow up accordingly. Electronically transmitted files that contain all labs, test results, prescribed medications, and hospital notes can keep the doctor informed so he or she can follow up on your loved one’s care. 

Continue to Communicate with Your Loved One

When seniors are discharged from the hospital, they’re often given lengthy instructions on how to care for themselves, take medications, and when doctors should be seen for additional care. It may be difficult to remember all the discharge instructions. Following up with seniors to ensure prescriptions have been filled and are being taken and that follow-up tests and exams are occurring can reduce readmission risks. Computer software, such as PatientBond, can help hospital staff during follow-ups. The software tracks recovery, sends personalized messages to remind seniors of upcoming appointments, and helps them communicate with hospital staff and ask any questions they have. 

A professional caregiver can monitor your loved one for post-hospitalization complications and provide transportation to doctor appointments. When searching for reliable Philadelphia senior care agencies, families want to know their senior loved ones 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. To create a comprehensive in-home care plan for your loved one, call us at (215) 645-4663 today.


    Request Free Information or
    Schedule a Free in-Home Consultation