There is nothing more discouraging than having to go back to the hospital for further treatment after having just been released. Unless of course it is for scheduled follow up, which can be very beneficial to help ensure the healing process is on the right track. Unfortunately though, there are far too many instances of seniors experiencing reinjury, complications, or setbacks forcing an unexpected return to the hospital.
In many cases, these readmissions can be avoided with good planning and diligent work on the rehabilitation program. More often the not, the reason for abrupt revisits to the hospital are due to a lack of preparation and neglecting rehabilitative exercises. Granted, it is not always possible to plan for discharge before going into the hospital in the case of accidents or unforeseen illness or injury. However, if you are going in for a scheduled procedure, advanced planning can make a huge difference to make sure the healing process stays on course without any disruptions.
If you require any assistance with hospital release planning, hospital discharge services can be obtained from a professional home care agency to help organize and streamline the whole process.
How to Prevent Hospital Readmission After Release
Good planning is one of the best ways to help ensure a quick and full recovery after surgery or treatment for illness or injury. It is especially true considering the current state of the public health care system that seems mainly interested in discharging patients as quickly as possible to make room for the next one. Perhaps you’ve heard the term “quicker and sicker”? this refers to the fact that patients are being released from the hospital too soon, before they are really ready to make that transition back home. Preparing in advance includes things like transportation home, getting the home ready of optimal healing, and making sure there is adequate home support and assistance available to aid in the recovery.
There are some areas to focus on to help make the adjustment of returning home smooth and simple. Some useful tips to make this happen, include:
- Make a plan
- Follow up with your physician
- Dedicated rehab
- Nutritious diet
- Medication management
- Arrange support
Make a Plan
This is step one to adequately prepare for getting out of the hospital. Even in the case of an unexpected hospital visit, planning can be done in the hospital with family members and home care providers to make sure everything is in line for the release date. Make sure you have reliable transportation to get home, and that the house is cleared of clutter and trip hazards that may induce a fall injury. Injuries from falls are a common reason for hospital readmission.
It is also important to make sure there is someone to help you out when you get home, especially if mobility is an issue.
Follow up with your Physician
It is generally recommended to follow up with your family doctor or a healthcare specialist within a week to ten days after being released. This can help rectify any problems or complications that may have arisen after discharge. To ensure a timely follow up, try to schedule an appointment as soon as possible after getting back home.
Neglecting rehab exercises is a prevalent problem among all patients, but it is critical for seniors to keep up with recommended exercises to help prevent reinjury. As we get older, recovering from any type of illness or injury takes longer and requires more dedicated effort. Taking half measures with your rehab program is not going to deliver the results you are looking for, particularly if you plan to continue living an independent lifestyle.
Along with steady rehab work and exercise, it is essential to get the required nutrition to help the body heal fully. Vitamins, minerals, and protein are critical for recovery, as the body needs these to repair and regenerate. Post release diets should focus heavily on fruit, veg, whole grains, nuts, legumes, healthy carbs, and quality fish and poultry. Foods to avoid are processed foods high in fat and sugar that don’t really offer any nutritional value, and may contribute to other health problems.
Complications with medications is another common factor for prompt returns to the hospital. Many seniors are already taking medications to treat existing ailments and chronic health issues. Adding more medications into the mix can cause confusion, and taking prescriptions improperly can create undesirable side effects and result in the medicine being ineffective.
Also, there is the concern of incompatibility amongst medications being taken which may also induce adverse side effects.
Getting the required support and assistance to facilitate the healing process is also necessary to help stay on track and avoid reinjury. Family and friends can be a huge help in these situations, and for additional support and assistance with a variety of tasks, home caregivers can be extremely beneficial.