Nothing is more devastating than having to return back to the hospital once you're finally released. Certain conditions in adults age 65 and older pose an increased risk of hospital readmission within 30 days. The most common readmission conditions include cardiovascular diseases, chronic lung disease, renal failure, cancer, pneumonia, and diabetes. An in-home caregiver can help reduce the risk of hospital readmission for your loved one. Here are some of the ways they help:
1. Monitoring for Changes
Once discharged, patients are provided home care instructions and information about their medical condition. Typically, there are warning signs the patient is encouraged to look for in order to determine if they need to return to the hospital. It's often hard to notice subtle changes in oneself, such as fatigue or swelling. In many cases, elderly will dismiss key warning signs. A trained caregiver knows he or she should be looking for changes which may be cause for concern. Having a professional caregiver in the home provides peace of mind and helps ensure that when changes do occur they are promptly reported and potential red flags aren't ignored.
2. Complying with Discharge Instructions
The discharge instructions for care can be overwhelming for the patient and the family members. Depending on the condition, the daily activities and procedures can be extensive. Caregivers keep daily logs to help make sure all the requirements for care are met. If the caregiver is only in the home part-time, they can ask family if the discharge instructions are understood and adhered to. If further explanation is needed the caregiver is trained to report it so that more education can be provided to patients and family by medical personnel.
3. Helping with Medication Management
When medication is taken incorrectly or at the wrong time an adverse drug event could occur. An adverse drug event is a medication error, allergic reaction or overdose from medication. The more prescription drugs a person takes, the more likely the risk of an adverse drug event is to occur. Proper medication management is key. In-home caregivers are there to help the patient comply with the medication regime. They assist by reminding seniors about medications at the correct time each day. If there is an adverse event, the caregiver is there to call for help.
4. Preparing Meals and Offering Nutritional Support
One of the most important things a caregiver can do for your loved one is provide them with healthy and nutritious meals that meet the recommended dietary guidelines specific to their condition. In addition to preparing meals, caregivers can teach patients how to make healthier meal choices by reading the labels and nutrition information on packaged or prepared foods.
5. Assisting with Making and Keeping Follow-up Appointments
Making appointments with physicians after being discharged is extremely important. Patients don't always realize the significance of following up with their primary care physician or a specialist after discharge within the recommended period of time. In-home caregivers can help make the appointments with the proper doctors and ensure the patient gets to the appointment.
At Caring Senior Service, our expert staff is comprised of extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and trusted professionals who take pride in helping your loved one manage their daily activities. For more information on how an in-home caregiver can reduce the risk of hospital readmission for your loved one, please contact your local Caring office.