Nearly 20 percent of Medicare patients discharged from a hospital are
readmitted within 30 days. That's nearly 26 million seniors going back to the hospital after initial
If your aging loved one has recently been admitted to the hospital,
preventing readmission should be among your top priorities. And while
there's a lot of good advice on how to do that, there's one strategy that
incorporates all the best practices.
It’s called a care plan, and it’s very effective.
Why a Care Plan Is Critical
A care plan is a road map of care, connecting medical professionals, family
and a loved one’s professional and family caregivers. Its flexible nature
allows for a seamless transition as the needs of your loved one change.
The most important detail about a care plan is that it’s a living document.
It’s unique because it stands to evolve alongside the needs of your senior
loved one. It’s effective because it coordinates care across numerous
people, distances and mediums.
A common reason for hospital admission among the elderly is
medication error. Whether it's taking the wrong dose or missing a dose entirely, medication
error can quickly lead to hospital admission, a high price to pay for what
could've easily been avoided.
Per that same NEHI study, a lack of follow-up care is just as disruptive to
the healing process. It’s not uncommon for the elderly to forget follow-up
dates or avoid them because of cost or an unwillingness to travel.
But follow-ups provide vital information. It’s an opportunity for your
loved one to have face time with a doctor who can thoroughly explain
conditions and symptoms. They can discuss test results or explore other
medical issues or concerns.
A care plan is your first line of defense in preventing medication errors
and missed appointments and follow-ups.
Care Plans Can Help Prevent Falling
Falling is another major factor in hospital readmissions among the elderly.
over one-third of older adults
with minor head trauma caused by a fall will return to the emergency room
within 90 days after discharge, per
a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society.
Readmission due to a fall is an excellent opportunity to reassess your
loved one's needs, but it's a costly time to do it. Instead, ensure a
professional care plan properly choreographs your Mom or Dad’s care.
If you're unsure of how to create a care plan, a professional caregiver can
be an exceptional resource. Professional caregivers are not medical
professionals but are compassionate professionals trained to help elderly
adults remain comfortable within their home and age with dignity.
Some agencies offer professional caregivers
certified in certain types of care
like dementia, or even fall-proofing a home. They're arguably the most
efficient way to enforce your loved one’s care plan. Short of someone in
your family or close to your family assuming this role full-time, a
professional caregiver can go a long way in preventing hospital
But if a professional caregiver isn’t a realistic option at this point, you
must ensure your senior loved one has a living care plan. Get more
information on making a care plan by