Jul 15, 2018 by Comfort Keepers of San Marcos
It can be disheartening to see a loved one – or even yourself – get readmitted to the hospital after having just been there for a longer period of time. Did something go wrong in your healing/recovery process? Did you do something wrong to steer you back towards the hospital?
It can be a combination of several factors, but there are some things you can do to prevent re-admissions in the future. Or, if it’s your loved one being readmitted, there are steps you can take to support them more in hopes of preventing their readmission, as well:
Readmission in this context is defined as more than just going back to the hospital, after having just gotten out.
The government defines readmission as being readmitted sometime during the first 30 days following your initial discharge from the hospital.
However, being readmitted during the first several months after leaving can be discouraging and worrisome for the person themselves, as well as their friends and family. What went wrong to cause them to seek such professional medical help again so soon?
As mentioned above, a variety of factors come into play here.
For starters, if the recovering senior requires more extensive help from family, friends, or even professional caregivers and they do not receive this assistance, you can see how readmission would become a logical result. It’s difficult for newfound support to be there the entirety of the senior’s recovery time, especially when adult children have to go back to their normal lives (jobs, taking care of their own families).
Not only is the likelihood for readmission to increase with this lack of support, but other risks can also increase: dangerous falls, depression and isolation, so on and so forth.
Another common factor that leads to readmission is patients not taking their doctor’s recovery orders seriously.
For example, you may be feeling much more mobile and energetic after being discharged from the hospital, which may lead you to ignoring the doctor’s instructions to take it easy and relax the first few weeks after you leave. Overexerting yourself may lead to you reinjuring yourself or taking a blow to your immune system, or even creating a new injury (maybe resultant from falling or the like!).
For starters, whether it’s you or your loved one that are recovering after an extended stay in the hospital, it is vital to heed the doctor’s instructions. They are not mere suggestions that you are to ignore – they are part of your plan of care to get you back to your best self, and to avoid readmission if at all possible.
If you are trying to prevent a loved one being readmitted to the hospital, ensure they have support from you and others who need to provide it. Do they need a full-time caregiver while they recover? Ensure a family member is able to do it, and if not, hire a caregiver to help them during this period of time.
You may think a simple phone call to check in on them, and hearing the generic “I’m fine” response back from them is enough to ensure their wellbeing, but frankly, it’s not. Even if you’re supporting them from afar, playing a more integral part in their recovery process can help ensure they continue to move forward and get better. Hiring help for them and keeping in close contact with the caregiver may be the best option for this situation.
There are, of course, some things you can’t control – you may be following the doctor’s orders to a T, and may have all the family and caregiver support in the world, but some conditions can be unpredictable and flare up again at a moment’s notice.
However, putting the unavoidable aside, these tips will help to keep you or your loved one on the road to recovery and avoid U-turning back to the hospital.