As part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the federal government developed the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program. Since the program’s implementation, readmissions have been reduced. Experts believe these rates can continue to decrease by finding solutions to common reasons for hospital readmissions, such as those listed below.
1. Premature Hospital Discharge
When seniors are released from the hospital prematurely, their conditions can quickly worsen at home and cause them to be readmitted. Ask for a second opinion and talk with the hospital staff if you feel your aging loved one is being discharged too soon.
A professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support for a senior who’s recovering after being hospitalized. When searching for reliable senior 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.
2. Lack of Communication Among Healthcare Professionals
After your loved one is discharged, hospital staff should communicate with your loved one’s primary care doctor and other specialists to ensure your parent continues to receive care for his or her condition. The busy nature of a hospital setting means this often doesn’t happen. When your loved one is discharged, ask who to follow up with and contact the records department to ensure all pertinent medical records are released to your loved one’s doctors.
3. Type of Insurance
Seniors with private health insurance are readmitted to the hospital at a 20 percent rate, individuals with Medicare are readmitted at a 12.5 percent rate, and those without insurance are readmitted at a 5 percent rate. Medicare charges hospitals a penalty for too many readmissions, while private insurance companies are more likely to pay for readmission. Encouraging state representatives to change rules and regulations may further reduce rates.
4. Lack of Communication Between Hospital Staff & Seniors
Hospitals are incredibly busy, and there’s pressure to get rooms cleared quickly to move new people in. The rush to discharge individuals often results in a lack of communication about follow-up care and medication instructions. When your loved one is released, take careful notes during discharge. Ask for printouts of any medication instructions or wound care.
A professional caregiver can closely monitor your loved one for post-hospitalization complications. Clearwater at-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.
5. Admission Instead of Observation
Studies have found that seniors are often admitted to hospitals when they didn’t need to be admitted in the first place. It may seem counterintuitive, but observing seniors in the hospital emergency department may result in reduced readmission rates. One hospital group, Crozer-Keystone Health System, switched to a system of observation and found that hospital readmissions dropped. Observing subjects for an extended time allowed medical personnel to correctly diagnose individuals and build relationships. Talk with your loved one’s hospital to determine if observation would be a better option than admitting him or her.
6. Missed Follow-Up Appointments
Many seniors face difficulties when it comes to follow-up care after hospital discharge. Not being able to pick up medications, schedule follow-up appointments, and travel to doctors’ offices may result in returning to the hospital. Help your loved one get prescriptions filled, schedule appointments, and arrange travel to medical facilities as necessary. If you don’t live nearby, a professional caregiver can help.
Many aging adults need assistance when they return home after being hospitalized. 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 Clearwater, 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. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. Reach out to one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (727) 330-7862.