A Successful Hospital Discharge

by | May 18, 2011 | Our Blog

Has your loved one been discharged from the hospital only to bounce back some thirty days later?  In today’s medical environment this is a common trend.   

Some blame the bounce back on the short length of time patients are in the hospital which leaves little time for healing.  Others claim that it is a lack of communication between the medical team and the patients.  Still others say it is a mix of both.  The reality is 20% of discharged Medicare patients are re-hospitalized within 30 days.  34% bounce back to the hospital within 90 days (Fredrick T Sherman.Geriatrics.Duluth:May 2009. Vol.64,Iss.5;pg. 8).  These statistics are astounding. But the most interesting fact is that 50% of re-admissions are preventable (Journal of American Geriatric Society 1900 Dec;38(12):1290-5).  How are the readmissions preventable?  Well first let’s look at the  top four reasons for hospital readmissions.

  • Dehydration
  • Improper use of medications
  • Lack of nutrition
  • Falls

It is interesting to note that falls can be the result of the first three.  And, falls represent 70% of the accidental deaths among those age 75 years or older.    

So what can you do to safeguard your loved one for a successful transition from the hospital to home?  Here are some tips:

  • If someone else will be involved with your care after you leave the hospital, then involve them in the discharge process.  Have them intently listen to the discharge instructions and ask questions.
  • Work directly with the hospital’s discharge planner. Every hospital has one.
  • Make sure you understand all of the instructions given to you. Do not be afraid to ask questions. 
  • Pick up all medications prescribed to you and carefully read the instructions.  Take them according to the prescription.
  • Learn how to properly change bandages and clean wounds, if necessary.
  • If you need medical equipment, home health care, or home care work with the discharge planner or social worker to make arrangements.
  • Make sure your primary care physician receives a copy of the discharge summary and all test results from the hospital. The discharge planner can help arrange this.
  • Be sure you leave the hospital with full written instructions about your condition, medications, dietary restrictions, recommended activity and rest levels, which symptoms you should expect, what to do if you feel worse after you leave, follow up doctor visits and tests, etc.

At Stay At Home we have found that the more support you have during a recuperation period the better the outcome with a decreased chance of a hospital readmission.  Whether it is for a short period of time or twenty-four hours, we want you to increase your opportunity to recover faster and better.