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A Better Way to Leave the Hospital

Avoiding Preventable Hospital Readmissions

A Better Way to Leave the HospitalFor most of us, when we get to leave the hospital, we’d rather not have another stay anytime soon. But people often find themselves back at the hospital within only a few weeks, for reasons that could have been avoided.

Common reasons for hospital readmissions include medication issues, not having a solid post-hospital care plan in place, or failure to follow up with a physician.

With proper planning and communication, you can be an active partner in your recovery and reduce your chances of being readmitted. Here are a few key points to help you be prepared and stay in contact:

Organize. Prepare your home for your arrival. A private duty care agency, like Village Helpers In-Home Care, can provide transportation from the hospital, pick up medications, provide social support, monitor cognitive status, and more.

Make a list of key contacts. Include your doctors, your home health agency, pharmacy, and anyone else who may need to be consulted.

Manage your medications. Arrive at the hospital with a list of your current prescription and over-the-counter medications and when you take them. Go over the list – and any new medications – with your nurse or pharmacist. Ask about medication interactions, side effects, and suggestions on how to remember when to take what. Pill planners are helpful, as are cell phone apps. Or you can go one step further and ask a home health agency like Village Home Health for a MedReady medication dispenser that can remind you to take your medicine up to four times daily.

Have a discharge plan, including:
• A list of follow-up appointments
• A place to stay after discharge
• A list of equipment you might need, such as a cane, wheelchair, grab bars, etc. (Village Helpers can help with this preparation.)
• A list of emergency contact numbers and a definition of what constitutes an emergency
Search Medicare.gov for: “Medicare Discharge Planning Checklist” for more action items and resources.

Say it back: Explain back, in your own words, the details of your discharge plan. This ensures you and your caregiver understand.

Make sure you know:
• Symptoms to watch for and how to respond
• Procedures to follow if you don’t feel well
• Foods you can eat, and what exercises you can do
• Numbers to call for primary physician, hospital, home health providers, and pharmacy.

Follow-up: Schedule and keep follow-up appointments.  Village Helpers can help with transportation and can escort you to your visit.

Write down your questions ahead of time, ask questions, and take notes.

A little help can go a long way toward preserving your independence. Home For Life Solutions offers several easy-to-use healthcare technologies that help you or someone you love recover at home. These reliable, affordable systems can automatically dispense medication, sense a missed medication dose or a fall from a chair – even a fire on the stove:

• Personal emergency pendant
• Medication management system
• Discreet sensors to monitor activities and emergency situations
• Self-activating products to trigger alerts and alarms

Automatic calls are placed to trained operators, 24 hours a day, and operators notify neighbors and family, or an emergency service, if needed.

To learn more about Home For Life Solutions, Village Home Health or Village Helpers In-Home Care services, call our referral line at 816-287-1216. You’ll find more information on all three organizations at www.JKVHealthServices.org.

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