Six Techniques to Avoid Hospital Readmission – Part 1
When you are released from the hospital after a serious injury or illness, hospital readmission is one of the biggest considered risks. While it’s true that people often recover more completely at home, you also want to avoid re-injury or a return of symptoms that force them back into monitored care. Your medical provider can help you take control of your recovery and avoid costly and time-consuming readmission.
Hospital readmission occurs when a condition relapses or when a recovery plan fails and the patient needs to go back under constant medical care again. In post-acute care, this can be the aftermath of a surgery, recovery from a severe illness, or just managing a serious medical condition that has periods of severity. Post-acute care patients can take care of themselves at home, but only with the right tools and support from their healthcare providers.
No matter what injury or illness took you to the hospital, it’s up to you to keep yourself healthy and maintain their outpatient care. As a personal injury law firm, we see many clients who are also currently patients in recovery. Let us share a few of the best tips to keep yourself from needing hospital readmission once you’re home for a more comfortable recovery.
1) Understand the Risk of Readmission
Start by making sure you understand that readmission is a risk. Many patients see recovery as a one-way road, not understanding that there is a significant risk of winding up back in the hospital if they start skipping pills or taking risks. Explain how their condition relates to the risk of readmission and what they can do best to continue recovering comfortably at home. Ask your provider to give examples of how everyday situations can lead to readmission due to a return of their illness, injury, or other medical complications. Be sure to understand the exact ways that you might be at risk of hospital readmittance and how to avoid those risks with smart outpatient care and self-care.
2) Get a Final Check-Up Before Hospital Release
A patient should never be released from the hospital or care facility without a final check-up. Make absolutely certain that you (or your released loved one) are physically healthy and ready to depart on the day they check out. Even if you were healthy the day before. This is also a good time to get an explanation of readmission risk.
Make sure they take your blood pressure, check the basic systems, and do a final round of blood tests just to be sure that you or your friend are healthy enough to leave. Make sure that questions of feelings are asked, as sometimes the biggest warning signs are things only the patient can tell, and patients don’t know that sharing these sensations can be important. Patients are also more likely to stay engaged with their recovery plan if they are engaged all the way out the door.
3) Understand Your Medications and How to Take Them as Prescribed
One of the most common causes of hospital readmission in outpatient post-acute care is a failure to follow instructions taking prescribed medicine. It’s easy to forget how many, on which day, or which ones to take with food. Patients get busy, they forget or don’t really want to take their medication. Even if you are eager to tackle a home health regime, you may make mistakes if you don’t fully understand the instructions.
Patients are more likely to get it right if they fully understand before they leave the hospital. Make sure you understand not only how to take your meds, but what each medication does and why to take them as prescribed. Quiz yourself on identifying each pill by size, shape, and color. This way, you know what you’re taking even if labels or pill-savers get mixed up. Adding context and routine to the mix will help you build the medication instructions into your daily life and remember the steps more clearly during your recovery.
[Continued in Part 2]