The Center for Healthcare Quality & Payment Reform (CHQPR) reports that 15 to 25 percent of people who have been in the hospital are readmitted within 30 days or less. Readmission after 30 days isn’t as common. However, there are reasons readmissions of this nature sometimes happen, especially with older adults.
1. Poorly Managed Transitions
Older adults tend to need a certain level of post-hospital assistance with things like wound cleaning, daily care, and medication management. If this assistance isn’t provided, there’s a greater risk for an eventual readmission to the hospital after a month or so. This particular risk may be reduced by:
- Preordering post-surgery meds to ensure they’ll be available
- Understanding what an acceptable level of activity is during the recovery period
- Clarifying home care instructions—e.g., bathing guidelines, signs of infection to look for
The type of at-home care seniors need can vary. Some need assistance a few hours a day, while others require more extensive around-the-clock assistance. At Home Care Assistance, we tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual care needs, and the plans can be adjusted at any time.
2. Recurrence of a Chronic Condition
Readmittance is likely when chronic conditions are involved. In fact, according to data referenced by CHQPR, more than half of all readmissions involving individuals with chronic conditions occur after 30 days. For instance, your senior loved one may have been admitted to the hospital because of a severe asthma attack. If your loved one has a history of asthma reactions, he or she is more likely to be readmitted because of the same issue. This is also true with seniors that have ongoing issues with:
• Heart disease
• Diabetes complications
• Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
3. Poorly Managed Conditions
According to a Readmission Briefs issued by the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative, people with conditions that are poorly managed are more likely to be readmitted for the same diagnosis or a related condition. What’s more, researchers noted that if the condition was better managed in the first place, the initial hospitalization may not have been necessary for some individuals.
Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Huntsville, AL, seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.
4. Lack of Engagement
C2b Solutions, a company that provides healthcare consumer insights, put together a ranking of issues related to 30-day hospital readmissions. They discovered that those who were less engaged with their care were more likely to have to return to the hospital a month or more after being discharged.
People less likely to be readmitted to the hospital 30 days or more after discharge were described as “balance seekers” and “direction takers.” In other words, it’s important to consider the nature of the individual’s personality. For example, if you know your loved one isn’t likely to be engaged with follow-up care, he or she may benefit from:
• Gentle nudging to do therapeutic exercises
• Reminders to follow doctor’s orders
• Encouragement to achieve certain recovery goals
5. Not Exercising Sufficient Caution
Some older adults are determined to get back to their normal routine. There’s nothing wrong with this general approach to life. However, there’s such a thing as overdoing it, even when it’s been a month or so after being hospitalized. Not surprisingly, not being cautious enough with a return to normal activities is one of the major reasons for readmission. This risk can be minimized by encouraging your loved one to take reasonable precautions when getting back to normal activities and routines after returning home from the initial hospital visit.
There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Home Care Assistance is a leading Huntsville in-home care provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life. Call (256) 716-9940 to find out how we can help your loved one age in place safely and comfortably.