Monday, June 21, 2010

Aftercare Tips for Elderly Patients Checking Out of the Hospital

Readmission into the hospital after surgery or another procedure is extremely common, costly and time consuming. Since it is one of our main priorities to keep our clients healthy and living at home rather than in the hospital, I wanted to share this article from The New York Times as it provides great tips for hospital checkout and avoiding readmission.
In 2009,The New England Journal of Medicine reported “one in five Medicare patients returns to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged.” Dr. Mark V. Williams, who worked on this study, suggests that part of the issue is due to the fact that doctors place much of their focus on the admission process, when the patient is most sick. When the patient leaves the hospital, they often have more medications and treatments to worry about than when they first entered. Some doctors suggest that this problem may also occur because it may benefit the hospital financially for patients to be readmitted.
Dr. Eric A. Coleman, professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Denver, has developed a program called Care Transitions Intervention to help seniors take initiative in their care after leaving the hospital. The steps of the program include taking charge of your care, checking the medication list for errors, making a comprehendible discharge plan and contacting your primary physician if you have any questions or concerns. To further help the cause, some medical centers are providing financial incentives for lowering readmission rates and are providing guidance for improving the discharge process.

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