What Best Practices Can Lower Hospital Readmissions?

Strategies that Can Prevent Hospital Readmission

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Seniors who are considered at high risk for hospital readmissions may find themselves repeatedly needing this type of inpatient care. The added stress and anxiety associated with going back to the hospital can make readmissions risky for older adults, especially those with underlying health issues or cognitive impairment. Here are some of the best practices that can lower your senior loved one’s risk of being readmitted to the hospital.

Confirm Discharge Instructions

When your loved one is discharged from the hospital, you may find yourself distracted by a handful of tasks as you help him or her get ready to leave. Being distracted can make it difficult to fully comprehend discharge instructions, which could contribute to readmissions. Avoid this problem by:

• Repeating the discharge instructions back to your loved one’s doctor
• Asking for more complex directions to be put in writing
• Getting a contact number so you can quickly reach someone if you have questions about post-discharge care

Look for New Symptoms

Infections are a common reason for hospital readmissions among seniors, especially during the first few weeks following discharge. Watch for signs of an infection, such as unusual wound discharge, fever, or increased pain around the treated area. If you notice any new symptoms like these, contact your loved one’s doctor as soon as possible.

A professional caregiver can closely monitor your loved one for post-hospitalization complications, including infections. 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.

Plan for Care at Home

The transition to life back at home is a time when seniors are especially susceptible to developing new health issues or recurrences of the problems that sent them to the hospital in the first place. Lower the risk of this happening by being as prepared as possible for your loved one’s return home. You can do this by:

  • Removing potential fall hazards from the home
  • Setting up a temporary sleeping area for your loved one on the first floor if navigating stairs will be difficult
  • Arranging for someone to be there with your loved one during the early stages of recovery

If you’re unable to provide sufficient care yourself, one option is to arrange for in-home care. This type of service can be provided on an as-needed basis as your loved one recovers.

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 Chandler, AZ, 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.

Increase Management of Chronic Conditions

Another common reason for hospital readmissions is additional issues related to chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. If a chronic condition is the reason your loved one was hospitalized, help him or her manage the condition better to lower the odds of returning to the hospital. For instance, if your loved one is diabetic, encourage healthy eating habits and regular exercise based on his or her capabilities.

Reduce Germ Exposure

Seniors need to return to clean homes after leaving the hospital to reduce their risk of being exposed to germs. This is important because airborne germs can cause illnesses that often lead to hospital readmissions. If your loved one isn’t able to handle basic housekeeping tasks independently, lend a hand or arrange for professional cleaning help. Further reduce germ exposure by:

• Asking friends and other family members to postpone in-person visits until your loved one is stronger
• Encouraging anyone who will be around your loved one to wash his or her hands frequently
• Wiping off surfaces your loved one often touches, such as the table where he or she eats

Chandler elder 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. Home Care Assistance can be your trusted partner in caregiving for your aging loved one. To learn more about our reliable, compassionate in-home care services, contact us at 480.448.6215 today.