By the time a person is discharged from the hospital, he normally has one primary goal on his mind: to get home! The exhaustion of a hospital stay reduces the ability of a patient to grasp all of his discharge instructions, especially if they involve numerous prescriptions and activity requirements.
Seniors are at an even worse disadvantage, and the result is that among those covered by Medicare, a third of discharged patients are back in the hospital within three months. Whenever possible, we recommend that families make sure that a family member or a caregiver stays with the Senior while the Senior is in the hospital.
Seniors Need Help Processing Discharge Instructions
Unfortunately, there are not very many industry guidelines for hospital discharge staff when it comes to ensuring that seniors will continue a successful recovery at home. That’s why it is critical that caregivers near La Jolla be involved when a loved one leaves the hospital.
If an elderly person misunderstands or forgets the discharge instructions, he could combine medications inappropriately, forget to pick up newly ordered medications, neglect important exercises, or fail to attend follow-up visits. Having a caregiver or family member be with the Senior during discharge can help ensure that the discharge instructions are received, understood and followed.
What Hospital Staff Can Do
A recent article in the magazine Social Work Today and online reports that a new website, “Next Step in Care,” provides resources for hospital employees to help them communicate more effectively with discharged patients and their caregivers. Near La Jolla, readmissions would likely be drastically reduced if staff could shift the responsibility from seniors who are already drained from a stressful hospital stay to family members and attendants who are better equipped to manage their schedules.
What San Diego County In-Home Caregivers Can Do
The Next Step in Care website also provides resources for caregivers. A self-assessment form helps an individual determine what home care tasks he is qualified for, and which ones he needs help with. Detailed medication management forms also make it very clear which prescription combinations should be avoided—incorrect medication management is one of the primary causes of hospital readmissions.
View the online version of Social Work Today’s article for more information on this important issue.
Originally posted 2012-03-29 10:30:22.