Hospital readmissions can have physical, psychological, and financial consequences for both families and seniors. While many readmissions are medically necessary, some may be preventable. Both you and your aging loved should consider the following strategies to reduce the risk of multiple hospital readmissions.
1. Maintain Nutrition
After your loved one is discharged from the hospital, he or she may not have much of an appetite and could be at risk for a nutritional deficiency. If not recognized and treated, nutritional deficiencies can cause weakness, blood pressure abnormalities, cardiac arrhythmia, headaches, bleeding disorders, and gastrointestinal problems. If your loved one develops any of these health problems related to nutritional deficiencies, he or she may need to be readmitted into the hospital.
An in-home caregiver can be a wonderful source of support for a senior who’s recovering after a hospital stay. Elderly home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.
2. Prevent Dehydration
Older adults, especially those with preexisting health conditions or who take certain medications such as diuretics, may be at risk for dehydration, which can cause lethargy, poor urinary output, severe constipation, muscle pain, and fever. Offer your loved one water and other non-caffeinated beverages frequently, and if he or she develops any symptoms of dehydration, call the doctor as soon as possible. Fluid replacement may prevent another hospital readmission.
3. Stay in Contact with the Physician
When minor problems are brought to the physician’s attention for evaluation and treatment, seniors may be less likely to be readmitted to the hospital. For example, if a urinary tract infection is treated early, it’s less likely to spread to the kidneys, which could require another hospitalization.
4. Consider an In-Home Caregiver
If your loved one has mobility limitations or cognitive impairment after getting discharged, a readmission is much more likely if he or she lives alone. Mobility and cognitive issues can raise the risk of falls and other accidents and result in a broken hip or fractured bones. Consider hiring an in-home caregiver. When seniors are monitored closely, they’re less likely to be readmitted to the hospital.
Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Vancouver seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.
5. Monitor Effects of New Medications
Seniors who are hospitalized are often prescribed new medications. Side effects from new prescriptions can range from mild to life-threatening and sometimes aren’t apparent until after seniors are discharged. Medications can cause dizziness, blurred vision, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, confusion, and an unsteady gait. If your loved one takes a new medication and exhibits unusual behavior, gets sick, or falls, he or she may need to go back into the hospital.
6. Watch for Cognitive Impairment
Hospitalizations can cause confusion in some individuals and may even worsen the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Once your loved one is discharged, he or she may become even more confused, leading to an accident or injury. When your loved one returns home from the hospital, monitor his or her behavior, and don’t leave your parent alone if unusual behaviors are present.
Vancouver in-home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently. If your loved one needs professional care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at (778) 279-3634 to learn about the high quality of our in-home care services.