No one wants to spend even one night in the hospital. However, for those who do end up experiencing hospital stays, the chances for readmission within 30 days are quite high. The likelihood of readmission is even higher for seniors, but some of the causes may be preventable. If you’re caring for a senior loved one, it’s important to understand the most common reasons for 30-day hospital readmission.
1. Premature Discharge
Staying multiple nights in the hospital gets old fast, but going home too soon can land your loved one right back in the hospital within 30 days. In some cases, seniors insist on going home. In others, the medical staff makes the wrong decision to send someone home before he or she is ready. Either way, it’s important to receive full treatment before a hospital discharge.
2. Failure to Attend Follow-Up Appointments
Depending on the severity of your loved one’s health status, one or more trips to a doctor’s office are typically required within a week or two of leaving the hospital. Attending follow-up appointments can help with treating underlying conditions, preventing future health issues, developing a long-term plan for chronic health conditions, and getting new prescriptions. However, many seniors either refuse to go to the appointments or don’t have adequate support and transportation to get there.
A professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support for a senior who’s recovering after being hospitalized. Austin elderly 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.
3. Lack of Information
If you were present when your loved one was discharged, you probably know it can be a confusing process. The nurses and doctors are busy, the person being discharged isn’t always completely coherent, and the amount of paperwork can be confusing. For this reason, many people leave the hospital with wrong or incomplete information. Seniors may not know which medications to take or how to take them. They may not understand the severity of their health conditions or what sort of aftercare they require. For this reason, it’s important to have a trusted person present at the time of discharge to ask questions and make sure all relevant information is provided.
If your loved one had surgery while in the hospital and has gone home with a wound, there’s always a risk for infection. In many cases, proper treatment at home can prevent infection, but sometimes it happens, even with the best aftercare. The best thing to do is follow all instructions for wound or incision care. Know the signs—such as fever, redness, swelling, warmth at the site, and chills—and contact your loved one’s doctor if you even suspect an infection is present.
A professional caregiver can closely monitor your loved one for post-hospitalization complications, including infections. When searching for reliable elder 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.
5. Health Conditions
In many cases, the senior’s original health condition is the cause of the 30-day hospital readmission. The condition may not be preventable, but following all instructions and attending follow-up appointments can certainly help. The most common health conditions that land seniors back in the hospital within 30 days are heart attacks, heart failure, pneumonia, COPD, and hip or knee replacements.
6. Refusal to Accept Further Care
For many seniors with serious illnesses or chronic diseases, their doctors may recommend temporary rehabilitation or in-home care after a hospital stay. Understandably, most seniors just want to go home and forget about what happened. Make sure your loved one knows the pros and cons of accepting further care, including the potential for readmission.
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 Austin, 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. Home Care Assistance can be your trusted partner in caregiving for your aging loved one. To learn more about our reliable, compassionate in-home care services, contact us at (512) 623-7800 today.