Going to the hospital is no small matter. But having to go back because of complications related to your first visit? That’s unfortunate.
It’s one reason that the federal government has been penalizing hospitals with high readmittance rates. The Hospital Readmission Reduction Program links what Medicare pays to hospitals to the number of people who have to return within 30 days.
The good news, of course, is that there are simple ways ― both for hospitals and for patients ― to help reduce costly and unnecessary return trips. These are the primary ways that HRR works to reduce readmittance:
- Improved coordination of care and communication among providers, patients and caregivers.
- Improved discharge planning, education and follow-up for patients.
- Improved continuity of care using electronic medical records.
After they leave the hospital, patients need to pay close attention to discharge planning and follow-up care. This can be a lot to manage especially when you’re not feeling well after a procedure or illness. Hiring a caregiver to manage the post-hospital care such as wound dressing, medication management, mobility aid and doctor communication can make all the difference between smooth post-op recovery and a return to the hospital if things go south.
Take wound care, for example: According to a 2015 study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, surgical-site infection was the leading cause of unplanned hospital readmission after surgery. Having a trained person at your home to help with wound dressing and care can make a major difference.
Assistance with mobility, too, is key. Because falls ― especially after hip or knee replacement surgery ― can be large factors for readmission, many hospitals encourage patients to have caregivers or family members on hand to help with therapy and to assist in mobility. The protocol encourages patients to move around as soon as possible, but it also asks that they don’t do it without the aid of a nurse or caregiver.
At-home aides also can assist in communication with doctors on therapy plans, fall-prevention programs, medical needs and other important topics, relieving another burden from patients and acting as a critical liaison to reduce misunderstandings or missed information.
Take My Hand At-Home Care provides licensed caregivers who help individuals with post-discharge support throughout Whatcom County, including Lynden, Bellingham, Ferndale, Blaine, Everson, Nooksack, Sumas and Birch Bay. Their hospital discharge planning services help older adults safely return home ― and stay there ― after surgery or illness.