Reducing readmissions is a hot topic today, both for hospitals that are under the threat of costly fines, and the patients who naturally want to avoid another trip to the hospital. With as many as 20% of Medicare patients being readmitted to the hospital within 30 days – over 2½ million seniors – and similar rates for Medicaid and private insurance patients, there’s plenty of room for improvement.
The main culprit behind preventable hospital readmissions is the lack of communication and coordination that takes place when patients transition from hospital to home. In general, the standard of care has been to give patients discharge instructions and have them assume responsibility to fulfill the plan. The problem with that standard is that:
- Some patients do not receive adequate education about their discharge plan.
- Many are unable to understand or follow the plan.
- Family members may provide little to no support, and basic needs may not be met.
So how can we create smoother care transitions and keep patients out of the hospital?
- Ask questions: Patients cannot assume that they have everything they need when they are being discharged from the hospital. Ask questions like:
- Where will I get care after discharge?
- What are specific problems to watch for?
- What should I do if these problems arise?
- Will I be able to: Bathe? Climb stairs? Drive? etc. upon returning home?
- Would having the help of a home care agency be beneficial?
- Understand your care plan: Doctors are busy, and they often rush through the patient’s plan of care during the discharge process. Make sure you understand your or your loved one’s diagnosis and care plan before leaving the hospital. This includes what medications are necessary, instructions for taking medications, level of activity that is recommended, etc.
- Work with a qualified agency that provides home health care services, like Regency Home Care: Our caregivers are trained to notice symptoms that may lead to complications and can contact the client’s physician to ensure that proper care is taken before a complication arises. We can also monitor the client’s care, including his or her diet and activity levels, ensuring medications are taken as prescribed and that the physician’s plan of care is being implemented.
Help keep your loved one at home after a hospital discharge and avoid a costly readmission with a little help from the experienced and compassionate team at Regency Home Care in the Atlanta area. Call us today at 678-999-2446 to learn more!