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Six Techniques to Avoid Hospital Readmission - Part 1

Thursday, March 19, 2020

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]

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Do I Need To Hire A Personal Injury Attorney? 6 Tips

Thursday, March 12, 2020

In case you find yourself wondering: do I need to hire a personal injury attorney? Keep in mind these six things.

Which types of accidents need a personal injury attorney?

Some of the more common injury cases are:

  • Common carrier accidents (car, bus, train, boat accidents, and plane); Workplace injuries;
  • Wrongful death; Slip and fall injuries; Injury from defective products; Asbestos poisoning; 
  • Nursing home neglect; Medical malpractice; and burns. 

When it comes to pre-trial settlement, many times people rely on insurance companies. Remember, the insurance company defending the negligent person wants to settle claims for the lowest possible amount. That's not in the injured person's best interest. 

Some people may choose to fight to recover the costs of their injuries through compensation for medical bills, pain, emotional distress, property damage, and lost wages. The injured person becomes the plaintiff in the case against the person responsible, the defendant.

What is medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice is a special type of negligence. We entrust our lives to medical professionals and, in return, we hold them to a high standard of care. When a medical provider fails that standard of care, the patient suffers severe injuries, pain, and even death.

Below is a partial list of possible causes of medical malpractice injuries:

  • a misdiagnosis,
  • a surgical error,
  • prescribing/dispensing the wrong medication,
  • inadequate training of health care personnel. 

Medical malpractice cases are complicated. They require a lawyer skilled in working with medical experts. The lawyer must know how to analyze intricate medical records that contain the proof of a defendant's negligence. A personal injury attorney experienced in malpractice cases is essential. 

What type of legal action addresses personal injury?

Some cases are criminal in nature; others are civil actions.

Personal injury cases are civil actions. A jury decides whether the defendant is at-fault and, if so, how much financial compensation to award the plaintiff. 

Criminal cases are those brought by the state or federal prosecutor against an individual charged with a breach of the public laws. In criminal cases, the judge or jury will decide the person's guilt or innocence. The answer may result in jail time.

Do I have a certain amount of time to file a personal injury case?

Each state has laws restricting the amount of time allowed to file lawsuits. The law calls such provisions "statutes of limitations". Once the applicable state's statute of limitations' threshold passes, the plaintiff cannot file a lawsuit. 

Suppose you were injured in a car accident and want to sue in California against the person causing the injury. You have to file the case against the defendant within two years after the date the injury occurred. If you did not discover the injury right away, then the time limit is one year after the date you discover the injury.

A plaintiff must file a medical malpractice case within the earlier of one year after he knew (or should have known) about the injury, or three years from the date of injury. 

What kind of remedies are available in California?

California's relief for personal injury victims comes in two types: economic and non-economic. Lawyers call them general and special damages, respectively. Special damages mean that the plaintiff has to specifically ask the court to award them or the court won't allow the award.

Economic damages are easy to determine. Jurors already know the price; it appears on receipts/bills. Medical bills are an example of economic damages.

Special (non-economic) damages include pain and suffering. Personal injury victims also may seek special damages for loss of earnings from time lost at the job as well as the loss of capacity to earn in the future. 

What do I do if sued?

Contact us immediately for a free consultation to discuss the case. Hiring the right personal injury attorney can make the difference between winning and losing. 

To talk more about this topic, please contact us. We want to help you protect your rights.

If you want to learn the latest wrinkle in personal injury cases, enjoy the benefitspro.com article from January 2020, entitled "Doctors forego the insurance in favor of personal injury law payouts."

The Uber Safety Report - What Isn't In It

Thursday, March 05, 2020

In March of 2018, a woman was killed when a self-driving Uber vehicle ran over her as she was crossing the street one night in Tempe, Arizona. Uber had foreseen the dangers of self-driving vehicles, and installed a "safety driver" in case of sudden emergencies; but on this night, the safety driver was busy streaming a show on her cellphone.

Because of this, and many other incidents involving Uber drivers—including thefts, alleged assaults, and overlong treks around cities—Uber launched a program called "RideCheck" in 2018. RideCheck is a GPS based program, which is intended to provide real-time tracking of Uber vehicles.

Did It Work?

At the end of 2019, Uber released the first of its US Safety Reports, summarizing the data gathered by its RideCheck program, detailing the number of deaths, accidents, assaults, robberies, and "non-consensual sexual contacts" that took place in Uber vehicles over the past two years. However, since this is the first such report, it is difficult to assess whether or not Uber has successfully reduced the number of such incidents in their vehicles since the inception of the program.

Some Concerns

Besides the mere accidents, where a Uber driver hit something (another vehicle, a fixed object) and injured a passenger, other disturbing findings include:

  • Substandard driving. Complaints about hard braking, swerving, abrupt lane changes.
  • Physical assault. This included yelling, assault, battery, and refusing to take the fare to the destination.
  • Sexual assault. Uber considered a sexual assault to include either an assault that happened during an Uber ride; or between two parties who met one another during an Uber ride. The assault itself could consist of everything from non-consensual kissing to rape.

What Isn't There

Uber's report did not include statistics on theft, robbery, non-fatal accidents; substance abuse or DUI among the drivers; mechanical failure or damage to the drivers' cars; reports of fraud; and other complaints that may be getting lost in the background of Uber use.

Uber is not, of course, a taxi company, but a transportation app. Their position had initially been that they provide a way to bring together people who want to drive and people who need a ride, and after that, the parties are on their own as to what happens next.  However, court cases in 2017 and 2018 made it clear that Uber drivers are employees, and Uber can be held liable for failing to screen out known felons and sex offenders, and for failing to terminate individuals who have displayed certain acts on the job—like watching live stream videos instead of watching the road.

So What Do I Do?

If you use Uber or Lyft and become the victim of a crime—any crime—or are involved in an accident, the first thing to do is contact the authorities. If you are injured, and the driver has not called 911, you should go at once to the emergency room. This will ensure that the insurance companies will pay for your treatment. If you have been the victim of any sort of crime, or even if you aren't really sure, call the police. Make sure a written report with the date and time of the incident exists.

Then call an attorney. Because of Uber's lackadaisical attitude until recently, the number of awful acts committed by their drivers is sadly high—and the number of attorneys handling them is not great. However, be sure you are in the correct jurisdiction. If you are in Los Angeles, or if the event took place in L.A., you will need an L.A. Uber accident attorney. Just because you're reading this in Des Moines doesn't mean you won't need the services of Freeman & Freeman if the Uber accident happened on your way out of LAX.



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