It’s worrisome enough to have a senior loved one in the hospital. When your loved one is released, there’s an understandable sense of relief, since this is when he or she will focus on recovery. However, there are times when older adults are readmitted to the hospital because of unexpected issues. Below are five major risk factors that could increase your loved one’s odds of hospital readmission.
1. A Serious Health Condition
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) conducted a study on hospital readmissions among seniors with Medicare. The agency discovered one of the leading risk factors was having a serious health condition. Seniors with the following conditions were more likely to be readmitted:
• Congestive heart failure
• Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
• Cardiac dysrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat)
A professional caregiver can closely monitor your loved one for post-hospitalization complications. When searching for reliable in-home care 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.
2. Lack of Follow-Up Care
The same study found older adults readmitted around 30 days or so after discharge were likely to have lacked sufficient follow-up care. Some of those within this group had also developed new illnesses or complications. These findings serve as a reminder for caregivers to be proactive about ensuring proper follow-up care after release from the hospital. Typically, this means:
• Keeping scheduled follow-up appointments
• Making sure care instructions are followed (e.g., guidelines for bathing, activity level, diet, medication, etc.)
• Reporting any new or unusual symptoms
3. Time of Day
One surprising finding of the study was that older adults were less likely to be readmitted to the hospital if they had been discharged between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Researchers speculate this might be because caregivers have more time to pick up prescriptions and get things ready for the necessary post-hospital care if their loved ones are discharged earlier in the day.
It’s not always possible to control what time of day your loved one is released from the hospital. However, if you’re concerned about having enough time to sufficiently get everything ready, talk to his or her doctor to see if you can arrange for a morning discharge.
4. Lack of Engagement
People of all ages need to be fully engaged with their follow-up care routines to reduce their odds of readmission. Depending on your loved one’s health and mental status, preparing for his or her release may involve explaining things in a way that’s understandable. This doesn’t mean you have to be condescending. Just use clear language and take the time to answer your loved one’s questions. It can also be helpful to:
• Provide gentle reminders to exercise
• Make a list of recovery goals
• Offer encouragement as your loved one achieves certain goals
• Participate in his or her post-hospital physical therapy/rehab sessions as much as you can
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 Kingwood, 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.
5. Premature Discharge
There are nearly 40 million hospital discharges annually in the United States, many of which go as planned. The ones that result in readmission tend to involve decisions to discharge people too soon. With older adults in particular, it’s advised that several factors be taken into consideration when determining appropriateness for discharge. Some of these include:
• Cognitive status
• Physical functioning level
• Availability of caregiver/family support
• Transportation availability for follow-up visits
• Ability to obtain medication and take it as directed
A professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support for a senior who’s recovering after being hospitalized. Kingwood senior 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. If your loved one needs professional home care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. To learn about our high-quality in-home care services, give us a call at 832-412-1345 today.