Hospital Readmissions: 4 Home Care Prevention Strategies
Home healthcare, also known as “home health care” or “home care,” refers to a range of medical and non-medical services provided in the comfort of a patient’s home. These services are designed to help individuals recover from an illness or injury, manage chronic conditions, and maintain their independence. A team of professionals, like nurses, therapists, and personal care assistants, often work together to provide home healthcare.
One of the primary benefits of home healthcare is that it can help prevent hospital readmissions. Hospital readmissions, also known as hospital re-entry or return to the hospital, occur when a patient is discharged from the hospital but is subsequently readmitted within a short period of time due to a worsening of their condition or the development of a new medical issue.
Readmissions are a major concern for both patients and the healthcare system, as they can lead to further complications, increased healthcare costs, and decreased patient satisfaction. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), approximately one in five Medicare patients is readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of their initial discharge.
In this blog, we will talk about how home healthcare can help keep people from going back to the hospital by providing continuous monitoring and support for chronic conditions, medication management and education, necessary equipment and supplies, and coordinating care with other healthcare providers. We will also discuss real-life examples of home healthcare successfully preventing hospital readmissions and the challenges that may arise in implementing home healthcare for this purpose.
How can home healthcare prevent hospital readmissions?
Continuous monitoring and support for chronic conditions
One of the key ways that home healthcare can help prevent hospital readmissions is by providing continuous monitoring and support for patients with chronic conditions.
Chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), require ongoing management and care to prevent complications and hospitalization. Home healthcare professionals can visit patients in their homes on a regular basis to monitor their condition, provide education and support, and ensure that they are following their treatment plan.
For example, a home healthcare nurse may check a patient’s blood sugar levels and provide guidance on diet and exercise, while a physical therapist may work with a patient to improve their mobility and prevent falls. By providing this ongoing support, home healthcare can help patients manage their chronic conditions and reduce their risk of hospital readmission.
Medication management and education
Medication errors and nonadherence are common causes of hospital readmissions. Home healthcare professionals can help prevent these issues by providing medication management and education services to patients.
This may include
- reminding patients to take their medications as prescribed
- helping them understand the proper dosage and timing of their medications
- assisting with refills as needed.
Home healthcare professionals can also work with patients to identify and address any barriers to medication adherence, such as cost or difficulty swallowing pills. By ensuring that patients are taking their medications correctly, home healthcare can help prevent hospital readmissions caused by medication-related issues.
Providing necessary equipment and supplies
Home healthcare can also help prevent hospital readmissions by providing patients with the necessary equipment and supplies they need to manage their condition at home.
For example, a patient with COPD may need a nebulizer or oxygen tanks to help them breathe, while a patient with diabetes may need a blood glucose monitor and insulin pumps. Home healthcare professionals can help patients obtain and set up these items and provide education on how to use them properly.
By providing patients with the resources they need to manage their condition at home, home healthcare can help prevent hospital readmissions due to a lack of necessary equipment and supplies.
Coordinating care with healthcare providers
Effective communication and coordination between healthcare providers are crucial in preventing hospital readmissions. Home healthcare professionals can help facilitate this coordination by serving as a bridge between patients, their primary care doctors, and other healthcare providers.
For example, a home healthcare nurse may communicate with a patient’s primary care doctor about their progress and any changes in their condition, while a home healthcare therapist may work with a patient’s physical therapist to develop a consistent treatment plan.
By coordinating care with multiple healthcare providers, home healthcare can ensure that patients receive the most comprehensive and effective care possible and reduce their risk of hospital readmission.
Success stories of home healthcare preventing hospital readmissions
Elderly patient with heart failure
Mrs. Smith is an elderly woman with heart failure who was recently hospitalized for a severe episode of shortness of breath. Upon her discharge, Mrs. Smith was referred to Safe Hands Home Healthcare for follow-up care.
A qualified and professional nurse from Safe Hands visited Mrs. Smith at home several times a week to monitor her vital signs, provide medication management and education, and help her manage her diet and fluid intake.
The nurse also coordinated care with Mrs. Smith’s primary care doctor and cardiologist, keeping them informed of her progress and any changes in her condition. Thanks to the continuous monitoring and support provided by the Safe Hands’ home healthcare professional nurse, Mrs. Smith was able to manage her heart failure and avoid a hospital readmission.
Young adult with asthma
Mr. Johnson is a young adult with asthma who was recently hospitalized for a severe asthma attack. Mr. Johnson was referred to Safe Hands Home Healthcare for post-discharge care.
Mr. Johnson received care from a professional caregiver on a regular basis so that he could be closely monitored, have his medications adjusted as needed, and learn how to avoid his asthma’s triggers in the future.
The nurse also provided Mr. Johnson with a nebulizer and taught him how to use it properly. Mr. Johnson was able to keep his asthma under control with the help of the Safe Hands caregiver and avoid another hospitalization.
Patient with diabetes
Mrs. Thompson is a patient with diabetes who was recently hospitalized for a severe case of low blood sugar. Mrs. Thompson was sent home, but in order to continue receiving care, she was connected with Safe Hands home healthcare.
An experienced nurse from Safe Hands checked Mrs. Thompson’s blood sugar levels once a week and helped her make lifestyle adjustments like eating healthier and increasing her physical activity.
Mrs. Thompson received a blood glucose monitor from the nurse and learned how to use it. Mrs. Thompson was able to keep her diabetes under control with the help of her home healthcare nurse.
Challenges of implementing home healthcare for hospital readmission prevention
While home healthcare can be an effective tool for preventing hospital readmissions, there are several challenges that may arise in implementing home healthcare for this purpose.
Limited access to home healthcare services
One of the biggest challenges of home healthcare is limited access to these services. Many patients may not have the option of receiving home healthcare due to a lack of availability in their area or a lack of insurance coverage. This can be especially problematic for patients with chronic conditions who require ongoing care to prevent hospitalization.
However, if you live in Michigan, Safe Hands is not leaving you alone. We offer comprehensive in-home medical care from a team of licensed physicians, nurses, and therapists.
Limited financial resources for patients
Another challenge of home healthcare is the cost. Home healthcare services can be expensive, and many patients may not have the financial resources to pay for these services out of pocket. This can be a significant barrier to accessing home healthcare, especially for patients on fixed incomes or without insurance coverage.
However, Safe Hands also handles all of the insurance and billing paperwork and works to minimize your stress levels.
Home healthcare can be an effective tool for preventing hospital readmissions by providing:
- Continuous monitoring and support for Chronic conditions
- Medication management and education
- Necessary equipment and supplies
- Coordinating care with healthcare providers
Overall, home healthcare can be a valuable resource for patients and the healthcare system, preventing hospital readmissions and improving patient outcomes. If you or a loved one are at risk of hospital readmission, it is worth considering home healthcare as a preventative measure. To learn more about the specific services that are available to you, contact Safe Hands Home Healthcare.