Vytality How home care can reduce hospital readmission rates and aid recovery
If you have spent time in hospital, or a senior relative has, you know that the desire to “Go home” is very strong. Indeed, research suggests that once the medical need has passed, people recover faster in their own home that in a hospital environment.
However, the need for continuing care immediately after being discharged from hospital is paramount. You cannot go from “zero to hero”, from doing very little for yourself in hospital to suddenly expecting to be able to do everything just as you did before, once back at home.
According to the Alberta Health Services, in 2017-18 12.4% of patients had unplanned readmissions within 30 days of leaving hospital. Seniors are most at risk during this 30 day period. A study by researchers from the University of Calgary pointed to one possible reason: lack of information provided when discharged.
“A lack of patient involvement in their care and not receiving written information at discharge is associated with increased unplanned readmission rate up to one-year post-discharge.”
Seniors and transitional care
This is a particular concern for senior who need ongoing transitional care in place from the moment they step into their home. As a result of their hospitization, senior may have more limited mobility, be unable to perform everyday tasks such as washing themselves or cooking a meal without help. They will almost certainly have less strength and stamina overall. As a result, even if they get information on post-hospital care, they may not be able to implement it.
Short term home care
This is when short term home care services can really make a difference. Professional caregivers can help your loved one recover better by putting in place any hospital or medical instructions into a personalized home care plan. This plan would also include:
- Individual personal care, ensuring seniors maintain a good level of hygiene and reducing the risk of infection
- Light housekeeping and laundry loads, so that seniors can relax, rest and concentrate on getting better instead of worrying about the house
- Meal preparation and grocery buying, so there is always a nutritious meal to enjoy and healthy food in the fridge
- Regular reminders about taking medications
- The reassurance of care for your loved ones when you or the family are not available
Spotting the signs
Most importantly, caregivers can monitor a senior’s health on a daily basis, in between scheduled healthcare visits or medical appointments. If they have any concerns, they can relay that to us, and we can contact their family directly via our app. This monitoring also applies to the practicality of seniors living in their home with changing mobility requirements. Caregoivers can spot potential trip hazards, put familiar object within easy reach, and discuss ways to make a senior’s home more accessible, such as grab rails and ramps.
The hidden costs of readmissions
Readmission to hospital is not only distressing, it’s also very costly in terms of overall patient health and health system finances.
- The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) calculate that hospital readmissions cost almost $2 billion in related acute care.
- A study showed that of 700,000 seniors with chronic conditions monitored after readmission to hospital, 20% did not survive the experience. • A report in the BC Medical Journal noted that readmissions cost almost $3,000 more than the original admission.
- A study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) showed that “flaws” in transitional care provided in the patient’s home after hospital can increase the likelihood of readmission.
Proper home care during recovery – priceless
Hospital is a very busy environment. There is always something going on, activity to watch, someone to talk to. Back home can seem very quiet. Professional home care from Vytality offers more than just the essential, it adds companionship, someone to talk to and discuss current events with, time for a crossword puzzle or a brain game to help mental recovery too.
Our team can also provide support for those first trips out of the house to medical follow-up appointments, specialist clinics or just for some fresh air and blue sky. We can also organize transport to take and collect your loved ones from social events, and ensure someone will be waiting at home for them with a smile, a cup of tea and plenty of time to sit and hear all about their day!