In-home care, also known as non-medical care, comes with many benefits for seniors, with one of them being that it helps prevent hospital readmissions. According to statistics, readmission rates in the U.S. have increased dramatically. It is now believed that one in six patients (not necessarily seniors) gets readmitted within one month of being discharged.
According to Michele Ellis-Williams, owner and Administrator of Astin-home Care Agency, seniors, i.e., persons over the age of 65, are more likely to get readmitted when compared to the younger generations.
“Hospital readmissions can have devastating effects for anyone, not just seniors,” explains Ms. Williams, popularly known as Coach Michele. “To begin with, they increase the risk for hospital-acquired infections, some which can be serious for patients with decreased immunity. Another thing about readmissions is that they can be extremely costly, not only for the patients and their families but for the government as well.”
The good news, however, is that physicians, hospitals, policymakers, and other relevant bodies are working together with the government to see how readmission rates can be brought down, especially among seniors. Another piece of good news for patients and their families is that it is possible to reduce or even completely avoid hospital readmissions without having to rely on the government and other bodies.
Common Causes for Hospital Readmissions in Seniors
According to Coach Michele, some of the most common causes for hospital readmissions in seniors include medication errors/medication mismanagement, poor diet, missing medical appointments, and fatal falls among other causes.
“Managing medications can be quite confusing for someone who has just been discharged from hospital, and most especially if that person happens to be a senior,” says Coach Michele. “The same can be said about poor diet – unless the patient has someone to help with meal preparation and feeding, it can be difficult to adhere to the diet instructed by the healthcare provider.”
“For patients who miss or fail to keep appointments with their health care providers, it usually is because they are too frail to make it to the doctor’s office without having to rely on family or friends. For others, it is forgetfulness. While there are those who lack transportation to and from follow-up appointments,” continues the Coach. “When it comes to falls or fall-related injuries, the risk for readmission is usually higher among individuals who have already been identified to be at risk. And these include those with decreased mobility, cognitive impairments and other acute illnesses, those taking medications that can cause dizziness, and those who already have a history of falling and happen to live alone.”
How In-home Care Helps Prevent Hospital ReAdmissions
So, how does in-home care or non-medical home care help prevent hospital readmissions? To begin with, what is in-home care?
In-home care, or non-medical home care if you like, is a professional support service that allows an individual to age or recover from an illness or surgery safely in their home. The service is usually offered by a licensed non-medical home care agency, who, through a licensed caregiver/in-home aide, ensures the non-medical needs of the patient are met around the clock or as desired.
Some of the services that come with in-home care include assistance with bathing, dressing, personal grooming, exercise, meal preparation, medication reminders, light housekeeping, and non-medical transportation/ accompaniment to and from doctor’s appointments, among other services.
To help minimize or even avoid readmissions, in-home care works by simply reducing or eliminating the risk factors. For example, a patient who is at risk for falling can benefit from in-home care by having a trained in-home aide always available to help with mobility and to ensure the house is always free from fall hazards.
In the same way, a patient who cannot make it to doctors’ appointments alone benefits by being driven and accompanied to and from such appointments by a caregiver who has been trained in providing non-medical transport and accompaniment to people who need the service.
When it comes to medication management, an in-home care aide will always be there to remind the patient to take their medications on time, and to see to it that the medications are taken as per the doctor’s instructions.
And that’s not all, through in-home care, a caregiver/in-home care aide takes care of any activities/tasks that the patient is unable to do for themselves, such as buying groceries, meal preparation, bathing, grooming, light housework, feeding the pet, etc.,
Would you love to learn more about how in-home care can help prevent hospital readmissions for you or a loved one? If yes, feel free to reach Astin Home Care Agency through the details provided below. We are more than willing to assist you in any way we can.