Which Factors Increase Seniors’ Risk of Rehospitalization?

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From added stress and anxiety to an increased financial burden, there are many reasons going back to the hospital can be problematic for both seniors and their family caregivers. There’s no way to absolutely guarantee your aging loved one won’t have to make additional visits to the hospital. However, knowing which common factors often result in hospital readmissions could help you take some additional steps to reduce this risk.

Post-Discharge Infections

Seniors are more susceptible to infections after being discharged from the hospital because their immune systems are often weaker during the initial recovery period. An infection could be related to complications after surgery, or it could be a respiratory infection such as pneumonia. Reduce your loved one’s risk of developing a post-discharge infection by:

• Making sure he or she takes medications as directed
• Looking for signs of infection around the wound site, if he or she had surgery
• Keeping the immediate environment as clean as possible during recovery

A professional caregiver can closely monitor your loved one for post-hospitalization complications, including infections. When searching for reliable homecare service agencies, families want to know their senior loved one will be well taken care of. At Home Care Assistance, our expertly trained caregivers are available around the clock to assist with tasks around the house, provide transportation to medical appointments and social events, and much more.

Falls Due to Impaired Mobility

Some older adults have issues with mobility and balance when they’re first released from the hospital. This is especially true if they had lengthy stays during which they were primarily confined to bed, which increases the risk of sustaining falls when they get back home that could be serious enough to send them back to the hospital. Mitigate fall risks after your loved one is discharged by: 
• Removing loose rugs and other common fall hazards before he or she returns home
• Setting up a temporary living/sleeping area on the first floor of the home if it has more than one story
• Putting frequently used items within easy reach

Many aging adults need assistance when they return home after being hospitalized. Some seniors only require help with a few daily tasks so they can maintain their independence. However, those living with serious illnesses may need more extensive assistance. Luckily, there is professional live-in care Prescott, AZ, seniors can rely on. Home can be a safer and more comfortable place for your loved one to live with the help of an expertly trained and dedicated live-in caregiver.

Medication Interactions

The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists reports seniors aged 65 to 69 take an average of 15 prescription medications per year. When older adults are discharged from the hospital, they’re likely to be given additional medications to manage pain and reduce the risk of infection. These extra meds also increase the risk of unintentional drug interactions. Help your loved one reduce risks of this nature by:

• Disclosing all meds he or she is taking, including over-the-counter medications and supplements, before new drugs are prescribed
• Double-checking with the pharmacist to make sure there aren’t any interaction risks
• Reporting any unusual reactions, such as excessive drowsiness, to his or her doctor

Poor Transitions Between Hospital and Home

Another factor that often results in hospital readmissions for seniors is a lack of proper planning to ensure a smooth transition from the hospital setting to the home environment. This is a risk you may be able to reduce with proactive steps that could include:

• Confirming your understanding of your loved one’s discharge and recovery care instructions 

• Preparing your loved one’s home before he or she is released
• Ensuring someone will be available to help your loved one as he or she recovers

• Arranging for temporary home care

A professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support for a senior who’s recovering after being hospitalized. Prescott at-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. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. Call us today at 928-771-0105 to learn about our high-quality in-home care services.