Did you know that 20% of Medicare patients will be re-admitted to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged from their original stay? While some of these cases are unpreventable, some can be avoided with a bit of pre-planning before your loved one leaves the hospital.
Here are six strategic steps you can take to lessen the risk of your senior loved one having an unplanned stay in the hospital after arriving home.
1. Have Their Medications Reconciled
Before they leave the hospital, have their doctor or pharmacist create a written list of the medications they’re taking, including the dosage, how the meds should be taken, and what time of day.
Research has shown that 40% of medication errors are caused by the improper reconciliation of medications before hospital discharge. A proper reconciliation will ensure the medications they took before their hospitalization won’t interfere with any new medications prescribed during their hospital stay.
2. Schedule Follow-Up Appointments
One of the most effective steps you can take to avoid rehospitalization is to schedule an appointment for your loved one before they leave the hospital. If you wait until they’re home, precious time can be lost before they get the important follow-up care they need.
Their doctor can recognize red flags that indicate any complications, answer any questions about meds you may have, and discuss any lifestyle changes that need to be made to improve or maintain the health of your loved one.
3. Plan for transportation needed when they get home
Before leaving the hospital, it will ease everyone’s mind to arrange transportation to upcoming follow-up appointments, trips to the pharmacy, physical therapy sessions, or anywhere else they may need to go to stay healthy.
Friends and family are the best choices, but they’re not always available. Uber and Lyft are alternatives that can be considered. If you’re not comfortable with that, hospital social workers can often help connect you with helpful transportation services.
4. Get Their Medical Records Before They Leave the Hospital
It’s essential that your senior’s doctor have records of any hospital stay to provide the best follow-up care they can. If you don’t have the hospital records when you go to your first visit with them after discharge, the doctor will have to order them from the hospital, which can take days, or longer, for them to receive.
5. Address Insurance Matters
It puts a lot of pressure on you and your senior when you get home and are wondering how much the hospital bill we be when it comes in the mail. Talk with the hospital finance department and get the information you’re looking for before leaving, or have a hospital social worker lend a hand. If you can’t pay your balance in full, the hospital will arrange for payment options with you.
6. Consider In-Home Care
To make sure your loved one is getting the assistance and care they need, consider enlisting the services of a caregiver through a home care agency. A caregiver can provide help with everyday activities like:
- Bathing, grooming, and dressing
- Medication reminders
- Running errands (med pick-up, grocery shopping, etc.)
- Mobility and movement
If you live in the greater Phoenix, Tucson, or Sun City areas, Adultcare Assistance Homecare can help. We’ve been helping seniors transition from hospital care to home care since 1996 and would love to help your family.
We also offer comprehensive care that can help keep your loved one from being hospitalized by helping prevent falls, assistance with mobility, reminding them when to take their meds and how much to take, helping with light housekeeping, and providing companionship.
Contact us today and have us create a FREE personalized care plan for your senior. We’ll reduce the pressure your family faces by professionally and efficiently managing your home care needs.