5 Strategies to Avoid Rehospitalizationadmin
Being hospitalized can be an unpleasant and disruptive experience for many seniors. As family members and loved ones age, it’s likely that they will have to be hospitalized at some point.
Unfortunately, it’s also likely they may be rehospitalized. In a study conducted in 2013 by theRobert Wood Johnson Foundation, researchers found that one in six Medicare patients were readmitted to the hospital 30 days after treatment. Returning to the hospital is not only inconvenient, it can also be costly and risky to the patientâ€™s health.
This is why it’s so important to work with your healthcare providers in order to avoid rehospitalization. Here are six useful strategies for keeping your loved one from returning to the hospital:
Many patients are readmitted to the hospital due to completely avoidable circumstances. When patient education programs are carried out correctly, patients are not only more satisfied with their quality of care, they are also less likely to be rehospitalized. Patients who leave with a proper understanding of post-hospital care are actually 30% less likely to be readmitted than their less educated counterparts. If you donâ€™t feel that your loved one understands the care plan, be sure to request more information.
Maintaining function is as important as treating specific diseases. Hospital stays present an excellent opportunity for early detection of functional decline. The most effective model involves collaboration among a multidisciplinary team of geriatricians, nurses, nursesâ€™ aides, social workers, physical therapists, and other health professionals.
Geriatric assessment, a tool that provides information on a patientâ€™s general functioning, is important in planning care for elderly patients and preventing future hospitalization. Geriatricians look not only for treatable diseases but also for the syndromes that impair function, like frailty, confusion, urinary incontinence, postural instability, and risk of falls. Assessment enables early intervention to prevent or delay more serious conditions which may lead to rehospitalization.
Before your loved one leaves the hospital, make sure there is a follow-up plan in place. If the patient experiences symptoms after treatment, seeing a physician for a follow-up appointment can reduce the odds they will need to return to the hospital.
It’s also important for patients to be closely monitored after discharge. Symptoms or behavior that may seem innocuous could end up having serious consequences if unaddressed. Talk to the care coordination nurse or discharge planner to ensure the patient will receive proper care after their hospital stay.
A meta-analysis conducted by Dutch pharmacists found that adverse medication events are responsible for around 88% of hospital admissions among senior patients, two thirds of which are readmissions. Medication reconciliation methods and medication therapy management are two ways healthcare providers are helping patients avoid adverse reactions and thus rehospitalization. These programs help to ensure communication between your healthcare providers and your pharmacist which decreases the chances of having problems with your medications.
Home Healthcare Services
If possible, ensure that your elderly family member has access to a home health aide or access to home care services upon hospital discharge. Not only will this put your mind at ease, itâ€™s a great way to decrease the chances that the patient will need to be rehospitalized. Access to home healthcare services can help to solve many of the issues that commonly send seniors back to the hospital. Home healthcare workers can remind patients when to take medication and make sure the medication is administered properly. Home care workers can also alert healthcare providers if there are any warning signs or concerning symptoms. This is key for early detection.
Work Together with your Healthcare Team to Prevent Rehospitalization
For many patients and families, the underlying issue that causes rehospitalization is poor communication. The system isnâ€™t perfect, but hospitals and care providers are making tremendous improvements. As you navigate hospital discharge, look for the gaps in communication. Better communication and being proactive can mean the difference between an expensive and inconvenient trip back to the hospital or remaining comfortable and healthy in the home.