After being in the hospital, going home is usually a welcome change. Not only that but being where you are comfortable is great for recovery. However, it's only smart to go home if you have the support and systems in place to ensure your recovery.
This is particularly true for seniors, who are at a higher risk of readmission. Use the tips here to help prevent this from happening.
Steps to Take Before Going to the Hospital
Before you leave for the hospital, it's important to prepare your home. A common reason people are readmitted to the hospital is because of a fall. Be sure to move any hazards, such as excess clutter or throw rugs, to reduce the possibility of tripping or falling. Make sure everything you need is easy for you to reach and ask for assistance when going to and from the bathroom. It's also smart to have rubber-soled slippers or non-skid socks available to help you keep your balance.
You should also discuss the level of care you will need with your doctor. There's a good chance you may need help from family, friends, or an in-home healthcare provider.
Steps to Take After You Are Discharged from the Hospital
Before your release from the hospital, let the staff know how you feel. Sometimes, you may have symptoms that need ongoing monitoring and that your doctor needs to know about.
Certain signs of needing to be readmitted can be monitored. However, you need to let your doctor know before you leave if you are experiencing issues breathing or lightheadedness. Usually, these are symptoms that will result in readmission.
Make sure you know your discharge instructions and ask questions before leaving. It's best to have someone with you when you are discharged so they can listen to your doctor's instructions.
Get Your Medications and Specialized Equipment Ready
You need to ensure that you know what medications you need to keep taking when you are discharged. Find out about changes to medicines, new medicines added to your routine, and ones you should discontinue taking. Get your prescriptions from the hospital filled right away too.
You may also need specialized equipment at home, such as a hospital bed, oxygen, wheelchair, and other safety equipment. You must arrange to have this equipment delivered to your home before discharge. This can help you avoid being readmitted to the hospital.
Preventing Hospital Readmission
If you want to prevent hospital readmission after you are discharged, be sure to keep the tips and information here in mind. While the tips apply to everyone, they are particularly important for seniors. In many cases, Medicare will cover the costs of necessary equipment and in-home health services.
There is help available with Medicare needs and filings. Be sure to keep this in mind, which will help you prepare for being discharged from the hospital. When you are prepared, it can also help prevent hospital readmission, which is something most people want to avoid.