According to a study published in BMC Geriatrics, the reasons for hospital readmissions among seniors are often related to the original diagnoses that originally caused them to be admitted to the hospital. However, it’s also possible for other factors to contribute to readmissions. Below are five of the more common diagnoses that may result in return hospital visits for aging adults.
1. Chest Infections
Chest infections rank as one of the top diagnoses among readmitted seniors. An infection could develop because of preexisting respiratory ailments or an immune system that’s already weakened because of the first hospital admission. Steps you can take to reduce your senior loved one’s infection risk include:
• Minimizing exposure to the elements if your loved one is susceptible to airborne infections
• Encouraging regular hand hygiene to avoid germ transfer
• Making sure your loved one takes medication as directed
A professional caregiver can closely 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 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. Fall-Related Injuries
A study of Medicare beneficiaries conducted by the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project found that fall-related injuries are the leading reason for hospital readmissions. Falls can be especially serious for seniors recovering after initial hospital stays if they had spine or joint surgery. Reduce this risk by:
• Removing potential fall hazards from the home
• Encouraging the use of canes, walkers, and other assistive devices
• Reminding your loved one to stick to his or her physical therapy routine and not to push him or herself without doctor approval
3. Heart-Related Issues
Congestive heart failure is one of the more common health issues that can bring aging adults back to the hospital, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The specific reason for readmission may be different yet still related to the underlying problem. For instance, an older adult with heart problems might first go to the hospital because of chest pain, but he or she might go back because of shortness of breath and other potentially life-threatening heart-related difficulties or because of heart surgery complications.
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 Montgomery, AL, 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.
4. Medication Issues
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association, nearly 30 percent of readmissions are medication related. Potential problems with medication after aging adults are released from the hospital could involve:
• Failure to take medications as directed
• Dosages that are too high or too low
• Reactions to medications
You can minimize this risk by confirming medication directions upon discharge. Also, make sure your loved one takes his or her meds as directed. Lastly, to avoid drug interaction problems, alert the doctor or pharmacist if your loved one is taking over-the-counter medications or herbal supplements.
5. Ongoing or Returning Pain
Ideally, aging adults would remain in the hospital until they’re fully ready to be discharged. However, this isn’t always the case. If your loved one is released a bit too soon, he or she may end up going back to the hospital if post-hospitalization discomfort continues. Additional inpatient care may also be necessary if pain returns because of issues related to early discharge. If you suspect your loved one is going to be discharged too soon, you could appeal this decision. If you do, your loved one may owe the hospital for the extension. However, it may be worth it to reduce the risk of readmission.
A professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support for a senior who’s recovering after being hospitalized. Montgomery 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. If you need to hire a compassionate, professional caregiver, call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (334) 593-3988.