A stay at the hospital is meant to get a senior back on the road to good health. However, many people find they go home and develop new health issues that cause them to go right back to the same hospital they were discharged from. Since these repeated hospitalizations have such a negative impact on seniors as well as the general public, the medical profession is now recommending families and healthcare staff work together to reduce the risk of hospital readmissions.
1. Know Who’s at Risk
The first thing to do is identify who’s most at risk for readmissions. Current research makes it clear that seniors who receive Medicare benefits are among the largest population that’s readmitted regularly within the first 30 days after discharge. Seniors with chronic health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease are at an even greater risk for readmissions. Medical teams can help these individuals by providing targeted pre-discharge instructions that lower their risk.
Professional caregivers can monitor seniors for post-hospitalization complications. 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 New Hampshire 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.
2. Provide Family Caregivers with Training
Family caregivers want to do the best they can to help their aging loved ones. However, many people have never assumed caregiving roles before, and remembering complicated discharge instructions can be difficult when they’re already sleep-deprived and overstressed. Hospitals are now beginning to offer more intensive training for caregivers, which may take the form of hands-on lessons for things such as wound or incontinence care. Group lessons on home safety practices for seniors are also common.
3. Preschedule Follow-Up Appointments
Many causes of hospital readmissions might be correctable when seniors receive early treatment. Too often, seniors go home without having clear schedules in place for their follow-up care. They may also lack adequate transportation to medical appointments. Family members and doctors need to create a schedule for follow-up appointments before the senior is discharged. This plan should also include who’s responsible for helping the older adult get to the appointments.
An in-home caregiver can be a wonderful source of support for a senior who’s recovering after a hospital stay. When searching for reliable elderly 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.
4. Use the Teach-Back Method
With this method, seniors or their family members repeat the discharge instructions back to the medical team as though they were teaching the guidelines themselves for the first time, which ensures the family understands the instructions so well they could teach them to someone else. If a medical professional doesn’t ask you to use this method, you can bring it up yourself by simply repeating the instructions back to check for understanding.
5. Focus on the Home Environment
Efforts to prevent hospital readmissions must continue after seniors go home. Medical staff often focus on preparing families for what to expect during the first few weeks of recovery. Giving families a realistic view about things such as their loved ones being immobile or at risk for falls helps them plan for the appropriate types of care. Often, just having an extra caregiver share duties can prevent health challenges that lead to readmissions.
New Hampshire homecare service 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. Call the Home Care Assistance team at (603) 471-3004 today.