5 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Readmission to the Hospital

If your senior loved one was recently hospitalized, there’s a good chance he or she will be readmitted, especially if he or she is over the age of 65. This is especially true for seniors with cardiac or respiratory issues and those who have had surgery on their knees or hips. While not all hospital readmission is preventable, there are some things you can do to lower your loved one’s risk of going back within a month of discharge.

1. Speak Up

Before you leave the hospital, speak up if something isn’t clear. Make sure you fully understand the condition that landed your loved one there, especially if it’s a new diagnosis. Find out what lifestyles changes your loved one should make, any new medications to take, if there are follow-up appointments, and what to expect from the first few weeks home from the hospital. If you feel as if your loved one is being discharged before receiving the full treatment, speak up about that as well. Ask to talk to a doctor if you aren’t happy with what the nurse tells you.

2. Be Cautious with Medication

Your loved one will likely leave the hospital with changes to his or her medication. Doctors may add medications or ask your loved one to stop taking certain ones. Make sure you both fully understand the new medication schedule, and ask about interactions, side effects, and any other questions you may have. Once your loved one is discharged, it may be a good idea to make an appointment with the primary care physician or specialist who prescribed previous medications to see whether or not they’re still necessary.

3. Accept Offers for Additional Care

Much of the time, the hospital isn’t just going to send a senior home without any assistance. They may suggest a rehabilitation center, physical therapy, occupational therapy, or an in-home caregiver. It’s tempting to say no and assume life will resume as normal, but with a new diagnosis, your loved one may need some help getting back into the daily swing of things. Declining a physical therapist could lead to a fall. Saying no to a visiting home caregiver could be the difference between the nurse spotting an infection and prescribing medication for it or another return trip to the ER. Accept any additional help available.

If you’re the primary caregiver for an elderly loved one and are unable to assist with all of his or her essential needs, consider home care. El Cajon, CA, families can rely on the compassionate, professional caregivers at Coast Care Partners to provide the high-quality care their loved ones need and deserve.

4. Encourage Lifestyle Changes

Once your loved one is home, it may be necessary to make some lifestyle changes to stay healthy. For example, if your loved one was diagnosed with COPD, it’s time to stop smoking. If he or she was diagnosed with a heart condition, it’s time to follow a heart-healthy diet and get more exercise. Chances are your loved one’s doctors will prescribe these lifestyle changes. Getting started on them as soon as possible could prevent readmission to the hospital.

5. Attend Follow-Up Appointments

Even if the hospital doesn’t set up an appointment, follow up with your loved one’s primary care physician and any specialists he or she sees within a couple of weeks of the hospital visit. They can help with filling in missing information you may have regarding your loved one’s diagnosis and set him or her on the right path to good health. They can also catch minor issues before they become major ones.

An in-home caregiver can assist your loved one in the comfort of home, reducing the risk of a hospital readmission. From simple assistance with daily tasks to extensive dementia home care, El Cajon families trust Coast Care Partners to provides premier at-home care to their aging loved ones. To schedule a complimentary consultation, please give us a call today at 619-354-2544.