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How To Reduce Hospital Readmissions | Fedelta Home Care, Seattle WA

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June 26, 2013

How To Reduce Hospital Readmissions

I have a few hard-earned rules in life: Never go backwards or repeat the same mistake twice.  It’s a way to avoid both physical and emotional pain.  Plus, making progress is emotionally invigorating. Then why, for instance, just as you believe your elderly parents are getting better after a hospital stay do they end up right back where they started?  Each person’s circumstances may be varied yet studies show consistently that lack of structured, professional home health care is the primary reason for readmission and even repeated readmissions to the hospital.  Speaking of professional, Fedelta care managers are registered nurses. 

A couple of details on hospital readmissions may surprise you:

  • They may be detrimental to a patient’s mental and physical health
  • They are expensive for the patient
  • A sizable fine to the hospital may result
  • They can be avoided

A walk down a familiar path avoiding the ever-present pot hole avoids injury and keeps you whistling happily on your way.  In the case of hospital readmissions the gaping hole is a financial one: Nearly 1 in 5 Medicare patients are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged to the tune of $15 billion, according to the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee.  Since a 2012 change in reimbursement schedule, hospitals with high readmission rates are penalized.  Ultimately this will encourage preventative measures to assure good transitional care. 

Several ways to avoid unnecessary readmissions are: To provide adequate physical care; support and supervision upon discharge to assure doctor’s orders are followed precisely.  Ask a lot of questions to your doctor, your home health care provider, your family.  We asked a few questions of our own to Lisa, an admissions administrator at a local Puget Sound hospital.

Q What are the most frequent reasons you see readmissions of elderly patients?  

A  We see a lot of elderly folks re-admitted for falls and for infection after surgery or a procedure.  A lot of people don’t have enough help when they go home.

We continued our discussion with a local nurse, Michelle.

Q What do you think can help curb the high rate of hospital readmissions for infection after surgery or visits for injury due to a fall?

A Most people need extra help at home to be sure someone knows how to dress wounds and change bandages correctly when discharged from the hospital to avoid infection.  Having the right equipment like a walker, wheel chair or cane are essential, yet simple things like assuring your loved one has no clutter in his or her path and wears non-slip shoes or slippers in the home environment are key to avoiding falls.

Q Many doctors lament that their instructions are not always followed correctly and that increases the risk of readmission.  What can be done to assure that medicines are taken properly and instructions followed?

A Having someone accompany an elderly patient is crucial to discharge instructions being followed. Often the patient’s hearing is impaired or reading ability has declined so they need someone to navigate instructions with them.  Learn about your options of skilled nursing, home health care and care management.  It’s okay to ask for help and get help. We see family caregivers that are tired, and jeopardizing their own health.  

Fedelta has experienced care managers and offers home care solutions that are like your easy button. Have a question about nursing or home health care? Just call Fedelta for the answers.  Contact us for a free evaluation today.  See what a difference in the quality of your family’s life getting the right help can mean.  Get the help you and your loved ones need and deserve.

by Christine Meinhart


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