Statistics suggest aging adults are at high risk for hospital readmission. This has a number of implications for seniors. Returning to the hospital isn’t just an indication of prolonged health issues. Readmissions can also be stressful, expensive experiences for seniors. Ahead, learn more about hospital readmission rates and how to prevent unnecessary returns to the hospital.
Readmissions: The Numbers
According to the 2015 Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, 14.9 percent of Medicare enrollees over the age of 65 were readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of release. A study by the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) found similar results—in 2016, 16 percent of Medicare users 65 years and older were readmitted to the hospital. While this number is down 8 percent from 2010’s figures, it nonetheless suggests many seniors are impacted by lingering health conditions after they’re released from the hospital. On a nationwide level, hospital readmissions are more likely to be caused by medical conditions (16.1 percent readmission rate) than by surgical procedures (12.7 percent readmission rate).
Unplanned Readmissions vs. Planned Readmissions
While hospital readmissions are seldom desired, there’s a distinction between unplanned readmissions and planned readmissions. Unplanned readmissions are usually caused by miscommunication, confusion, or inadequate post-treatment care, while planned readmissions are often inevitable. Planned readmissions can be related or unrelated to the initial cause of admission. For example, after a heart attack, a senior may need to return to the hospital to receive a ventricular assist device. If a tumor is discovered during an unrelated surgery, a follow-up surgery might be scheduled to remove it. While unplanned readmissions are never ideal, they aren’t always avoidable. Whether due to old age or chronic illness, sometimes seniors end up back in the hospital despite effective hospital care and diligent post-treatment care. Nonetheless, seniors, caregivers, and medical professionals should strive to prevent avoidable unplanned readmissions.
A professional caregiver can monitor your loved one for post-hospitalization complications, reducing the chance of readmission. 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.
Common Causes of Readmissions
There are many reasons seniors return to the hospital within 30 days of release. Some may not understand the full extent of their health issues, which renders them incapable of handling their own care. Seniors with memory loss may make mistakes with medications, taking them in the wrong quantity or at the wrong time. Sometimes hospital staff don’t adequately explain post-treatment care requirements to seniors, caregivers, and primary care providers or fail to schedule the necessary follow-up appointments. In addition, despite their best intentions, family caregivers without medical training may be ill-equipped to provide seniors with the at-home care they need.
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 Boca Raton, FL, 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.
How to Prevent Unplanned Readmissions
The best way to prevent unnecessary hospital readmissions is to devise a comprehensive plan for post-treatment care. Caregivers should ask hospital personnel whether they coordinate hospital discharge plans—many hospitals have special planners on staff. Caregivers should also create discharge plans detailing all relevant information, such as hospitalization dates, medical problems, allergies, pre-treatment/post-treatment medications, specialized equipment, follow-up appointments, and what to do in an emergency.
A professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support for a senior who’s recovering after being hospitalized. Boca Raton 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. If your loved one needs professional care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. Schedule a free in-home consultation by giving us a call today at (561) 826.9282.