6 Best Practices for Reducing Hospital Readmissions

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Seniors regain their health in the hospital, and once they’re discharged, they must continue with the recovery process. Poor habits and ineffective treatment can increase the risk of readmissions, which are costly and potentially harmful to a senior’s health. Continue reading to learn how to avoid hospital readmissions and help your aging loved one regain optimal health. 

1. Go Over the Discharge Procedures

When speaking with the discharge coordinator, ask questions, and don’t move on until you fully understand the condition. Don’t be afraid to ask for further information. The worst thing you can do is leave without coordinating care with a discharge representative. The coordinator will go over basic care routines as well as more complicated procedures, which might include feeding tubes, infections, wound care, and more.    A professional caregiver can be an outstanding addition to your home caregiving team. When researching agencies that provide elderly home care, families are usually looking for flexible care plans, compassionate and highly trained caregivers, and 24/7 availability. Whether you need respite care to take a break from your caregiving duties or your senior loved one needs around-the-clock assistance at home, you can rely on Home Care Assistance.

2. Understand the Medications

Learn which prescriptions your loved one is taking along with the dosages and whether food should be eaten when taking the drugs. Develop a list of over-the-counter medications your loved one currently takes and ask the physician if your loved one should stop taking them. You should understand the objective of each medicine as well as its side effects. Don’t stop asking questions once your loved one is released. Speak with the local pharmacist about vital tips that could enhance treatment. 

3. Ask about Medical Equipment

Before leaving the hospital, ask the doctors, nurses, and staff about medical devices your loved one needs at home, such as walkers, grab bars, ramps, and oxygen tanks. Some insurance policies cover medical equipment based on a doctor’s recommendations. You should know how to operate the devices safely to prevent accidents and injuries. 

4. Schedule Appointments

Before leaving the hospital, make an appointment with your loved one’s primary care physician. Missing doctor visits and therapy sessions could increase the risk of hospital readmissions and lead to ineffective treatment. Aging adults who follow up with their doctors within seven days of discharge are less likely to be readmitted. Checkups allow medical providers to discover what’s working and determine if another treatment plan is necessary.  Des Moines 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.

5. Learn How to Perform Basic Tasks

Most family caregivers assume the role involuntarily and have little knowledge of the responsibilities. This also applies to caring for a loved one after hospital discharge. To provide high-quality care and prevent a readmission, speak with the hospital staff about training. A large number of facilities offer programs that prepare families for the recovery process to reduce hospital readmissions. For example, some staff will watch you change the bandages on a wound and give you feedback. 

6. Use In-Home Respite Care

The first 90 days following discharge are often the most challenging for family caregivers, especially if they have children, full-time jobs, and other commitments. However, in-home respite care is an affordable and flexible option you can have customized to your loved one’s needs.  Caring for a senior loved one can be rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming for family caregivers who have other responsibilities they need to focus on. For these families, the perfect solution is respite care. Des Moines families rely on our caregivers whenever they need time to rest, work, run errands, and even go on vacation. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at (515) 264-2438 to learn about the high quality of our in-home care services.


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