Most seniors who end up going back to the hospital are readmitted within the first 30 days of being released. In fact, readmissions within this time frame are so prevalent that new regulations have been implemented, resulting in penalties for hospitals with high readmission rates. A report in the Journal of Medicine notes that about 15 percent of elderly hospital readmissions are “overtly preventable.” Let’s take a closer look at some of the more common reasons for 30-day hospital readmissions.
1. Premature Hospital Release
It only stands to reason that if older adults are released from the hospital before they’re ready to leave, they’ll be more likely to need additional inpatient care within 30 days of discharge. This is sometimes a judgment call on the part of the medical staff. However, you may be able to reduce your senior loved one’s risk of readmission due to early discharge by:
- Asking for clear reasons why your loved one is being discharged
- Assessing your parent’s physical capabilities and mental alertness
- Raising any objections to discharge you might have if you notice anything troubling
2. Post-Hospital Syndrome
Post-hospital syndrome is a term used to describe the period of vulnerability when a senior is just released from the hospital. During this time, there’s an elevated risk of readmission due to “adverse events.” These types of events include infections, reinjuries, and the development of entirely new problems, such as pneumonia. Because your loved one is especially vulnerable during the first month out of the hospital, make the transition as safe and beneficial as possible by:
- Making sure the home is ready before he or she is released
- Ordering post-hospitalization meds in advance
- Providing an appropriate level of assistance or supervision
- Getting care instructions in writing so there are no misunderstandings
A professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support for a senior who’s recovering after being hospitalized. Fort Worth homecare 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.
3. Medication Issues
When you factor in the fact that seniors are often given additional medications to take after being released from the hospital, it’s easy to see why medication issues are another common reason for 30-day hospital readmissions. You may be able to reduce this risk for your loved one by:
- Disclosing all medications he or she is currently taking
- Confirming that he or she will be able to take the meds as directed when released
- Double-checking with the pharmacist to make sure there aren’t any drug interaction risks
4. Chronic Conditions
According to a report from the Center for Healthcare Quality & Payment Reform (CHQPR) on elderly hospital readmissions, seniors are more likely to return to the hospital shortly after discharge if they have ongoing issues with chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Mitigate this risk for your loved one by:
- Encouraging regular exercise
- Helping him or her make healthy food choices
- Learning more about your loved one’s chronic condition so you know how to spot potential problems early
- Getting tips from the doctor on how to best manage the condition when your loved one gets back home
A professional caregiver can closely monitor your loved one for post-hospitalization complications. When searching for reliable home care service 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. Lack of Involvement
Being overly cautious after discharge can contribute to weakened muscles and other issues that could result in a return visit to the hospital. Seniors are less likely to be readmitted to the hospital within the first month or so after release if they’re actively engaged in their recovery, which means:
- Actively participating in therapy sessions
- Doing what’s recommended between physical therapy sessions
- Providing honest feedback about how they’re feeling as they recover
6. Overdoing It
On the other hand, being a bit too overzealous about getting back to a normal routine can also contribute to 30-day hospital readmissions. If your loved one is naturally active, that’s great. But encourage your parent to check with the doctor first before resuming his or her usual activities, and remind him or her that it’s okay to ask for help when needed.
Many aging adults need assistance when they return home after being hospitalized. 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 Fort Worth, TX, 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. Call Home Care Assistance today at (817) 720-5556 to learn about our high-quality in-home care services.