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How In-Home Care Can Help Reduce Hospital Readmission

Comfort Keepers In-Home Care in Logansport, Indiana.

How In-Home Care Can Help Reduce Hospital Readmission

When a senior returns home from a hospital stay, the first 30 days are crucial, and it is during that initial time frame that they are most likely to be readmitted to the hospital. 

This can be stressful for anyone, but being older and having factors that put you at higher risk makes for an even more stressful experience. 

Having an in-home care agency help after a hospital stay can significantly lower the chances of someone being readmitted into the hospital within those first thirty days. 

Here are a few ways an in-home care provider can help reduce the chance of an older adult being readmitted to the hospital. 

Know which clients are at a higher risk of hospital readmission

Anyone who is over the age of 65 is at an increased risk of being readmitted to the hospital within the first 30 days of being discharged from the hospital. 

While age is a significant contributing factor, there are other factors that can contribute to readmission, such as:

  • Those with pre-existing conditions such as;  diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, renal failure, cancer, and obesity. 
  • People who are at risk of falling. 
  • Individuals who just were discharged from the hospital. 

Knowing that some people are at higher risk can allow for adjustments in the care plan and more careful observations by the care providers that come into the patient's home. 

Implement a protocol for high-risk clients

Ensuring that all the care providers who go into the client's home are aware of the increased risk of that person for hospital readmission is vital. It is also important that all care staff are trained in the protocol to follow when a client returns home from the hospital. Knowing what symptoms and signs to watch for as well as what actions to take will make the difference between the client remaining at home or being readmitted to the hospital. 

Visit the client as soon as possible

Having a visit as soon as possible with a home care client can help the care provider to get all the information needed from the hospital and start implementing any care measures needed right away. 

It is also a great time for the caregiver to ensure the client is attending all the appointments they have, and they understand as best as possible what is happening and what they need to do. 

Regular follow-ups with your client as soon as they are released from the hospital can help to create an effective care plan and monitor for any adverse reactions to new medications. 

Clear communication with the client 

Clearly communicating with clients when it comes to their prognosis, what to expect, and signs and symptoms to watch for can help to reduce hospital readmissions. Talking with your client about what to watch for and when it's time to call for help and then having them repeat what you said can help them understand and truly comprehend what you are saying. 

If the client is incapable of remembering or following directions, communicating with the family clearly is a good option. 

Make use of technology

If a client is at high risk for hospital readmission or chronically ill, using a monitor that will immediately alert the in-home care agency of any health changes is an option. 

Being able to intervene as soon as possible when a client is experiencing an adverse health issue can allow the care provider to treat the client before the situation escalates and a hospital readmission is needed. 

Train care providers for specific health conditions

It is not uncommon to see in-home care providers being trained for specific health care needs. If you have a lot of clients with a certain illness, like diabetes, it would be smart to have specially trained staff for this illness. Being trained in signs and symptoms to watch for in a diabetic patient, how to plan and prepare diabetic-friendly meals, and complications specific to that illness can make a big difference in hospital readmission rates and overall care provided for clients suffering from these diseases. 

Monitor medications after being in the hospital

It is likely that when a client comes home from staying in the hospital, they will also bring a new prescription. Ensuring that your client is taking the proper doses at the right time can prevent hospital readmission, as well as advocating for them by checking with their doctor that the medication isn't going to have an adverse interaction with other medicines that they are taking. 

Adverse drug reactions are a big contributing factor to hospital readmissions among older adults, and ensuring you are doing all that you are capable of doing to keep your client safe and taking medication as directed can make a huge difference. 

Conclusion

Caregivers are thoroughly trained when it comes to what to watch for in their clients and how to react. This can make the difference between staying in the comfort of your own home to recover or having to spend more time in the hospital.