Home Care Reduces Hospital re-Admissions
It is generally a welcome relief for elderly patients (and families) to be discharged from hospital care and sent home. Returning to the familiar and welcome environment of home, a senior is “all better”. However, that is far from the reality for elders being back at home.
Hospital re-admissions has become a hot button topic throughout the home care industry. Since the federal government, under the Obama Administration, began placing pressure on hospitals to reduce their re-admission rates, these medical facilities have focused on increasing information and support to patients upon discharge. That has led to an increased reliance on home care services, including visiting nurses and other aides.
One of the biggest challenges faced by hospitals is to determine risk factors of an individual patient. How to evaluate elderly patients to determine the potential risk of a required re-admission? By determining various risk factors, it could help determine who may have the greatest need for support and care at home, once they are discharged.
Nationally, statistics indicate approximately 15 percent of the elderly are re-admitted to the hospital within 30 days of being released to go home. This is a huge financial issue, and it is trending higher. Reducing re-admission rates is important because The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spends $11,200 per re-admission, which translates into billions of dollars annually.
There are numerous issues which necessitate admission to a hospital. However, what plagues the system is frequent re-admission for the same conditions for the same patients. Many seniors are discharged, go home, and feel like everything is back to “normal”. Subsequently, they fail (ignore) to follow their doctor’s instructions on self-care. They may not take their prescribed medications. Ignore or do not initiate their prescribed physical therapy. Or, simply, do not even pay attention to themselves, and more actively participate in their own recovery. Many seniors may not fully understand what is required of them or may not have the physical support that can make all the difference.
Research shows that by utilizing the benefits of home care services, and establishing connections with competent home care aides and other service providers, re-admission rates consistently drop. However, not every senior will assume these services are necessary. Weighing the risks of re-admission is an important factor in helping people, especially seniors, avoid the prospect (as much as possible) of being re-admitted within 30 days of discharge.
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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
Phone: (781) 378-2164