Nobody wants to see an elderly loved one go back to the hospital, so it’s important for family members to understand the risk factors that tend to contribute to readmissions for older adults. Here’s a closer look at six of the more common reasons for readmission along with some tips to keep in mind to minimize your loved one’s readmission risk.
1. Having a Chronic Condition
A study published by the National Institutes of Health found that the majority of elderly hospitalizations are related to chronic conditions. Issues with diabetes and other chronic conditions can also result in multiple admissions. If your loved one has a chronic condition that’s already caused several trips to the hospital, reduce the odds of needing further inpatient care by taking the following steps:
- Learning more about the chronic condition
- Encouraging proactive care involving healthy diet and exercise habits
- Talking to the doctor to find out how your loved one’s condition can be managed better
2. Getting an Infection
In general, elderly people are more susceptible to developing infections, according to U.S. Pharmacist and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Older adults are even more vulnerable to infections after being released from the hospital because their immune systems often aren’t back up to 100 percent yet. Post-hospital infections can be minimized by:
- Limiting in-person visits during the first several days after your loved one’s return home
- Getting into the habit of wiping down commonly used or often-touched surfaces
- Knowing the signs of infection (e.g., redness around a wound site, fever, increased pain) so you can contact your loved one’s doctor if you notice any of them
A professional caregiver can monitor your loved one for post-hospitalization complications, including infections. When searching for reliable in-home care agencies, families want to know their senior loved ones 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.
3. Failing to Be Diligent about Follow-Up Care
Another common risk factor for elderly hospital readmissions is the failure to heed follow-up care advice. For example, not going to physical therapy appointments after a long hospital stay that involved being confined to a bed could increase the risk of fall-related injuries due to weakened leg muscles. Diligent follow-up care involves:
- Going to follow-up appointments
- Doing recommended at-home exercises
- Not trying to do too much at once without the doctor’s approval
- Reporting any new or unusual symptoms
4. Not Being Fully Engaged in Post-Hospital Recovery
On a related note, seniors are more likely to be readmitted to the hospital if they aren’t fully engaged in their recovery. This is especially true if the reason for the initial hospitalization was to have either necessary or elective surgery. “Engagement” typically means:
- Fully participating in physical therapy sessions
- Following diet and exercise recommendations
- Setting smaller, achievable recovery goals
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 Jefferson County, CO, 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.
5. Being Released from the Hospital Too Soon
Seniors are more likely to be at risk for returning to the hospital if they’re released before they’re fully ready. If you believe your loved one is being discharged too soon, you have the right to file an appeal on his or her behalf. If your loved one’s primary insurance coverage is through Medicare, you can declare you don’t believe the discharge plan meets Medicare’s guidelines for safe discharge.
6. Having a High-Risk Health Condition
A study on hospital readmissions conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) found certain health issues tend to put seniors at risk for going back to the hospital. The top conditions include congestive heart failure, pneumonia, and blood poisoning related to a bacterial infection (septicemia).
A professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support for a senior who’s recovering after being hospitalized. Jefferson County 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. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call (303) 987-5992 today.