Hospital readmissions has become a hot button topic throughout the home care industry as well as health care overall for almost a decade. Since the federal government, under the Obama Administration, began placing pressure on hospitals to reduce their readmission rates, these medical facilities have focused on increasing information and support to patients upon discharge. That has led to an increased reliance on home care services, including visiting nurses and other aides.
One of the numerous challenges these hospitals have faced in striving to reduce readmission rates is determining risk factors. A company in Texas, Senior Helpers, has been helping to develop a program that would evaluate elderly patients to determine the potential risk of a readmission. By determining various risk factors, it could help determine who may have the greatest need for support and care at home, once they are discharged.
According to the Victorian Advocate, in the news blog, Victoria home care company instrumental in development of nationwide recovery care program, written by Kathryn Cargo:
“About 15 percent of the elderly are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days after being released to go home, which is a growing problem, [Wendy] McHaney said. Reducing readmission rates is important because The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spends $11,200 per readmission, which translates into billions of dollars annually.
McHaney became interested in forming a program to help reduce the chances of readmission for the elderly four years ago after her mother was readmitted within two weeks of being released from the hospital. Her mother had a major surgery and was rehabilitated for six weeks. McHaney hired Senior Helpers in the Dallas area where her mother lived to help care for her. After a week, her mother told the Senior Helper employees she didn’t need them anymore. Soon after, she fell, breaking bones, and had to go back to the hospital.”
There are often numerous reasons for readmissions, from a failure to follow their doctor’s instructions, take prescribed medications, take part in physical therapy, or even actively participate in one’s own recovery. Some seniors may not fully understand what is required of them or may not have the physical support that can make all the difference.
By relying on home care aides and other service, readmission rates consistently drop, but not every senior will assume these services are necessary, which makes a risk assessment an important factor in helping people, especially seniors, avoid the prospect (as much as possible) of being readmitted within 30 days of discharge.