When a hospital visit goes right, there’s a lot to celebrate. Making it through tests, procedures, and hours of waiting is something to be happy about. But no elderly patient wants to be readmitted to the hospital after they’ve just been there. This is why proper homecare after a hospital stay is critical.
After a hospital visit, elderly patients often have to contend with changes. Ensuring that they have high-quality homecare that factors this in is key to a successful recovery.
Let’s dive into the impact of homecare after a hospital visit and what to look for in a homecare agency.
Why Homecare Helps After a Stay in the Hospital
During the initial 72 hours after a hospital stay or procedure, elderly patients are vulnerable. They will likely have a new diagnosis or medical regimen that requires changes to:
– Daily habits
– Medications or medication doses
– Diet and meal regimens
– Rehab exercises
In most cases, patients will need non-medical homecare, which includes daily living tasks like dressing, bathing, and meal preparation. Non-medical homecare can usually be handled by family members, depending on their availability and capability. However, in the critical days following a hospital stay, it’s important to have professional help. As your loved one heals, doctors’ instructions must be followed carefully so they can recover as quickly as possible. This process can take weeks — or even months.
A few patients might also need medical homecare, which includes physical therapy, monitoring medication dosages, drug therapy, injury treatment, or pain management. Medical homecare is best handled by professionals.
Providing insufficient or nonexistent hospital stay homecare comes with great risks.
Risk of Going Home Without Homecare
According to a study, almost 20% of Medicare patients are readmitted to a hospital within 30 days of discharge. Homecare can lower this readmittance risk. For example, in 2017, major joint replacement patients without multiple chronic conditions who went to homecare after their hospital visits were shown to have low readmission rates of 4%.
Additionally, there is the risk that a patient returning from the hospital might have to go to a skilled nursing facility or nursing home for elderly care. According to a study, there are a few key risk factors that determine whether an elderly patient is likely to have to be admitted to a nursing home:
– Living alone
– Low ability to complete activities of daily living (ADL)
– Decline of ADL during hospitalization
– Length of stay
– Increasing age
While some of these factors can’t be helped, homecare professionals can ensure recovering patients aren’t living alone, assist with daily living needs, and help improve their ability to perform activities of daily living.
Finding the Right Homecare Agency
Homecare is clearly the best choice for helping your loved one stay with family and avoid a nursing home or readmission after a hospital visit. But how can you find the right homecare agency to help?
First, you’ll want to find homecare agencies with high ratings and positive reviews. Then, there are five critical items to look for. Be sure the homecare agency you choose can provide the following services on a flexible schedule that works for your family:
Personal Health and Hygiene
In the days or weeks following a hospital visit, even acts like bathing and dressing can be difficult. But personal hygiene is critical for preventing infections and encouraging a positive attitude. Caregivers should be able to assist elderly patients with a wide range of personal health tasks.
Your loved one will almost certainly need to attend follow-up doctor’s visits and appointments. Homecare staff should be able to reliably provide assistance getting to any medical appointments on time.
There’s a good chance that an attending doctor made changes to dietary and medication requirements during the hospital visit. Caregivers should be able to prepare diet-specific meals and remind patients to take their new medicines.
A clean environment is critical for patient recovery. Caregivers should be able to make your loved one’s bed, load and unload the dishwasher, tidy common areas, sweep and vacuum, and wash, dry, and fold their laundry.
A post-hospital routine can take up a lot of family time. Your homecare agency should offer hourly concierge services to take care of small tasks, allowing you to focus on your loved one. These tasks might include paying bills on time and scheduling an electrician to fix a broken appliance.
Is your loved one scheduled for a hospital visit or has he or she just returned? Bluebird Homecare’s trained staff offers assistance with elderly care tasks from managing personal hygiene to transportation for your family member’s next appointment. No matter your loved one’s elderly care needs after a hospital visit, we’re here to help.