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Minimizing Preventable Hospital Stays

Hospital Home CareNearly one in five Medicare patients are readmitted to a hospital or medical facility within one month.  Undeniably, this figure seems high.  True, some conditions, such as congestive heart failure, occasionally make readmissions seem unavoidable.  Even so, better planning might stop other types of hospital stays.

If your loved one is hospitalized, here are some suggestions to consider:

Appoint a qualified family member as go-to person.  The go-to person should get to know the hospital staff, furnish important patient data to appropriate parties, attend meetings, give updates to other family members, and collect comprehensive, post-hospital instructions.  This limits confusion and allows for better home preparation.

Make sure the home surroundings are safe.  People recently back from hospital stays are sometimes weak or unsteady.  At the same time, newer medications can make seniors feel tired.  Naturally, factors such as these encourage instability.  Instability, coupled with rugs that buckle, ill-placed furniture, and items laying in the way, can lead to injury.  Consequently, tidy or take away poorly positioned objects inside and outside the home: the chance for mishaps will decrease.

Monitor medication.  Some Medicare patients return to the hospital because they failed to follow prescription instructions.  Some even go back because they never filled the scripts to begin with.  Medication management is often pivotal to a patient’s recovery.  For that reason, appoint a dependable family member to oversee the process.  Legibly written instructions, pillboxes, and/or pharmacy-filled blister packs can help if no one will physically be there to distribute the drugs.

Help out with doctor appointments.  Post-hospital doctor visits are critical because they allow physicians to assess how well a patient is doing.  If something concerning is taking place, there’s a better chance it will be addressed before another hospital stay occurs.  At the same time, medications may need adjusting, wounds may need monitoring, vital signs may need checking, etc.  Community resources are typically available if a loved one needs a ride getting to an appointment, so ask the hospital discharge planner for a list of transportation providers in your area.

Plan for someone to regularly check in.  Some seniors, particularly ones who live alone, need help when following doctor recommendations.  Subsequently, it is important for family members to regularly check in.  Adhering to guidelines, such as dietary instructions and adequate fluid intake, can boost a person’s strength and encourage wellness.

Hire outside help.  Some family members do not have the ability to adequately care for convalescing relatives because they have other responsibilities.  As a result, it may be necessary to hire qualified care to ensure a patient’s needs are being met.  Certain people are averse to paying for home care.  Nonetheless, sometimes it is in everyone’s best interest.

Clearly, no one wants to return to the hospital, but occasionally it is unavoidable.  Other times, better planning can work to evade preventable stays.

For additional information regarding this topic, go to http://assets1.csc.com/health_services/downloads/CSC_Preventing_Hospital_Readmission.pdf

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