Top 6 Strategies for Reducing Elderly Hospital Readmissions

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Statistics indicate approximately 33 percent of seniors discharged from the hospital are readmitted anywhere from 24 hours to one year later. The majority of readmissions take place within the first month of being released. There are a number of strategies family caregivers can implement to reduce the risk of future hospitalizations for their elderly loved ones. 

1. Evaluate Vital Signs

Medical staff commonly take a senior’s vital signs before he or she is discharged. However, if there are abnormalities in the readings, they may not be properly addressed. Seniors might be sent home with fevers secondary to infections they acquired in the hospital. Heart rate and blood pressure issues may not be sufficiently treated. Older adults might experience breathing difficulties. Make yourself aware of your parent’s normal vital sign readings and compare them to the discharge vital signs. Anything above or below the norm needs to be addressed by a physician. A professional caregiver can monitor your loved one for post-hospitalization complications. When searching for reliable elder care agencies, families want to know their senior loved ones 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.

2. Consult with a Pharmacist

Consider consulting with a pharmacist concerning your loved one’s previous and recently prescribed medications. A consultation may reduce the risk of potentially harmful drug interactions. Due to certain medical conditions, some seniors might also require medications that weren’t included in the discharge instructions.

3. Check Pharmacy Availability

A report published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association indicated a correlation between pharmacy availability and readmissions. A study performed by the Oregon Health and Science University College of Pharmacy revealed that when outpatient pharmacy hours in small towns and rural areas increased, the number of readmission cases dramatically reduced. 

4. Address Discharge Instruction Issues

Seniors may not understand their discharge instructions, make and attend follow-up appointments, or comply with physicians’ orders. Thus, being present at the time your loved one is discharged is recommended. This way, you can review the instructions and ensure your parent complies with orders. 

5. Provide Assistance

Seniors may return home alone, weakened, and unable to care for themselves, and their conditions might worsen if they don’t receive assistance. When feeling fatigued, dizzy, or otherwise incapacitated, an older adult is more likely to fall or experience some other type of home accident. Consider staying at your loved one’s home until he or she has recuperated.  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 Des Moines, IA, 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.

6. Prevent Malnutrition

In an effort to be able to afford their medications, seniors may sacrifice nutrition due to expenses. If they’re fatigued, they may not feel like preparing healthy meals. Without proper nutrition, the ailing body cannot function properly, let alone heal. Consider preparing meals for your loved one in advance that merely require reheating. Ensure your parent has healthy snacks, and perhaps sign him or her up for a meal assistance program.  Des Moines 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. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call (515) 264-2438 today.


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