Nurse holding the hand of a senior with arthritis

Hospital Discharge Directly to Home

The days following a hospital discharge are a time of high risk, not only for the recurrence of the original medical condition but also for a range of other new health problems. Readmission after discharge from the hospital is common and comes with considerable cost. In the United States, nearly one-fifth of Medicare patients discharged from a hospital (approximately 2.6 million seniors) have an acute medical problem within 30 days that requires a further admission for treatment. Interestingly enough, a study showed most readmissions of older people after discharge from inpatient rehabilitation occurred for different reasons than the original hospital admission.

What factors contribute to hospital readmissions among older adults? According to the evidence found in a study conducted by Oxford Academic, there are several factors that could be related to the risk of hospital readmission in elderly people age 75 and over. Common causes for hospital readmissions include: a previous hospital admission, the duration of the hospital stay (a longer stay means a higher risk of readmission in the short term), their morbidity/comorbidity and functional disability. Age or sex did not seem to determine the results in contrast to other factors such as the seniors’ functional abilities.

While this is not a complete list, here are six reasons a senior may experience a hospital readmission:

  • Patient medication mismanagement.

It’s important to take your medications as prescribed by your physician. Hospital doctors may look at necessary medicines in a different way than your primary specialist. You can take an active role in avoiding errors in prescriptions by providing your complete medication history to the doctors who serve you and your pharmacist. Taking an incorrect dosage of your prescription or missing a dose can increase your chances of returning to the hospital.

  • Early hospital discharge.

It’s only natural to want to return home from the hospital sooner rather than later. But even though you may appear ready to finish your senior care recovery process at home, you might benefit from a short-term stay in a rehabilitation center. Rehab centers like Carlinville are equipped to catch and thwart off medical problems that could arise. Our care is person-centered, so we meticulously monitor your medical needs from day one.

  • Infection complications.

When a senior has a wound or incision after discharge, it’s imperative that ongoing proper care be taken in the area to prevent infection. Hospital readmissions are a problem when it comes to infections. Ask your doctor about the symptoms of infection ahead of time that might tip you off to when you should seek immediate medical care.

  • Fall injuries.

Recovering from a hospital stay may have left you weak and unsteady on your feet. You may also be getting accustomed to a new walker, oxygen or other assistive equipment you are unfamiliar with using. All these conditions put you at higher risk for falls and injuries and require more senior care.

  • Medical conditions.

Certain conditions have a higher risk of complications for seniors. This list contains some of the common causes that have a high rate of readmission:

  • Acute kidney failure
  • COPD
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Hypertensive heart disease
  • Myocardial infection
  • Muscle weakness
  • Pneumonia
  • Sepsis
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Follow-up care.

Also contributing to high readmission rates is the fact that half of all readmitted patients do not return to see their doctor for follow-up appointments. This can have dangerous results. For example, skipping physical therapy appointments could prolong your injury or result in re-injuring yourself and returning to the hospital. Equally as problematic, if your hospital admission was heart-related, and you don’t follow through with changes to your diet and lifestyle, it could also interfere with your recovery outcome, and you could be readmitted to the hospital again. Make sure you understand the rationale behind your treatment and follow it to avoid readmission.

At Carlinville Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, we’re experts at putting effective transitional care plans in place. Our team of highly trained professionals goes the extra mile to make sure seniors recover successfully and receive the necessary post-acute care. To inquire about our rehab program for you or a family member, call 217-854-2511.