How to avoid hospital readmission for your elderly parent

Hospital readmissions cost about $17 billion a year in the United States. That’s a pretty astounding number. To give you an idea of how that’s possible just consider that a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that one in five patients covered by Medicare will be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged.

Even worse, 67 percent of patients that had been discharged with medical conditions and roughly 50 percent of patients that had been discharged after surgical procedures were either re-hospitalized or died within the first year after discharge.

As reported by Science Daily, one reason for the high number of readmissions is because hospitals “tend to transfer patients to less costly settings once their condition is stable.” Getting follow-up care at a skilled nursing facility or in the home is a good option, but needs to be carefully managed to assure that medical tests and appointments are completed. Sometimes the reason for these readmissions has been as simple as the patient was unable to get to their follow-up appointments and their condition declined leading to a return trip to the hospital.

Several projects have been launched at hospitals around the country that have yielded information for patients to keep them healthier and out of the hospital following an initial discharge. Project Red (Re-engineered Discharge), for example, seeks to educate patients while they’re in the hospital. It stresses that patients make appointments for needed follow-ups, makes sure that patients understand how to take medicines, and even calls patients two or three days after they leave the hospital in case there are any problems.

In addition, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) created a downloadable guide for patients to keep track of their care, appointments and medications when they leave the hospital. The guide is a great resource for keeping all care information in one organized place and can benefit the elderly patient, hopefully helping keep their follow-up care consistent and preventing them from a return trip to the hospital.

Encompass Senior Solutions currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available options and help families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”