Most Effective Ways to Lower a Loved One’s Risk of Rehospitalization

By Mark Schmidt, 9:00 am on October 28, 2019

It’s not unusual for seniors to be readmitted to the hospital within a month or so after discharge. While hospitals have programs in place to lower the rate of readmissions, some readmissions are unavoidable. Here are some of the best strategies for reducing your senior loved one’s risk of hospital readmission.

Ask for Medication

Many seniors are unable to afford their new medications, so ask the physician if he or she can send your loved one home with a month’s supply of prescription drugs. This way, your loved one won’t have to go without life-saving medications if he or she cannot pay for them. People who don’t take their newly prescribed medications after getting discharged from the hospital are more likely to be readmitted. A month’s supply of medication is reasonable because it may take that long before your loved one gets his or her next check in the mail or through direct deposit.

Hire a Home Caregiver

If your loved one lives alone, he or she is less likely to be readmitted to the hospital if you arrange for home care services. A caregiver can transport your loved one to medical appointments and the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions and can even prepare meals and do light housekeeping chores. If your loved one had surgery, the home caregiver will monitor him or her and offer assistance as needed. Elderly people who live alone and don’t receive home care services are at risk for accidents and falls, nutritional deficiencies, and infections as a result of poor hygiene practices.

A professional caregiver can be an ideal addition to your caregiving team. When searching for reliable home care service 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.

Confirm Level of Understanding

Before your loved one leaves the hospital, the nurse or discharge planner will go over pertinent discharge information regarding medications, treatments, and follow-up appointments. If your loved one doesn’t understand because of cognitive or hearing deficits, he or she may be more likely to be readmitted to the hospital. Before leaving the hospital, make sure your loved one comprehends the discharge instructions so he or she feels safe and confident at home. If your loved one is unable to comprehend because of illness or medication side effects, take notes or record the discharge planning session. Once the side effects wear off or your loved one feels better, he or she will be able to review the instructions and comprehend them better.

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 Tucson, AZ, 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.

Talk About Illness

Encourage your loved one to tell the doctor or nurse if he or she feels sick, even if your loved one is only minutes away from being discharged. It’s not unusual for people to become ill right before going home as a result of medication side effects or undiagnosed medical problems that weren’t recognized during the initial hospitalization. If your loved one becomes dizzy or develops shortness of breath, the physician may postpone the discharge until your loved one feels better. Seniors who are discharged too early or in spite of new symptoms are more likely to return to the hospital.

Tucson 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. If your loved one needs professional care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. To hire a compassionate, dedicated caregiver, call us at (520) 276-6555 today.