Published: May 28, 2014
You have a senior with pneumonia who is about to be sent home to recover, and you are worried. Changes to healthcare laws now allow penalties to be levied on hospitals with high readmission rates for a number of illnesses, including pneumonia, and because this person is over 65, her risk of readmission is greatly increased. A greater concern for you, though, is that the mortality rate for seniors with pneumonia is significantly greater than that in the younger population. Quite simply, her recovery is critical, and you want to ensure she has every resource available to her for a successful recovery at home.
There are many reasons seniors need to be readmitted to the hospital for conditions like pneumonia, and some of these factors are controllable. Studies indicate that seniors who live alone are particularly vulnerable to suffering from a reinfection that requires re-admittance to the hospital. They may not eat properly because they have no energy to shop for or prepare food, or they may not have an appetite. Because they may be sleeping most of the time, they may not be aware that their symptoms are worsening or have the energy to see their primary care physician for follow-up. Having a continuum of care to support these seniors once they leave the hospital can be critical to success.
While there are very clear guidelines many hospitals are using to help their patients successfully recover at home, often these seniors are unable to follow through with the medical professionals’ instructions without assistance. In-home care can provide the additional support these recovering seniors need. Our specially trained caregivers, the people we refer to as Comfort Keepers®, can provide that critical link between the senior and the senior’s family and physicians.
Our Comfort Keepers can help the senior transition to home by shopping so there is adequate food in the house and can help the senior meet his or her dietary requirements through meal planning and preparation and by helping the senior to stay hydrated. They can also support the senior and help him or her be compliant with medical instructions through medication reminders and by providing transportation to and from follow-up appointments with the family physician.
By closely monitoring the seniors under their care, Comfort Keepers can identify when symptoms are worsening and can alert their supervisors and the seniors’ families of the changing situation. They also help alleviate depression, which has been shown to decrease rates of readmission, through meaningful interaction with the seniors under their care and help them move about the home to reduce the risk of falls. Most importantly, our Comfort Keepers are able to assist recovering seniors with daily activities so they can focus on getting better and their families can have peace of mind knowing their loved ones are being cared for and supported.
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