It’s not uncommon for people who have been discharged from the hospital to end up being readmitted a couple weeks later. While this is common, in most cases, it is avoidable. You are the key to your health, so you need to take an active role in your recovery. Here are our best tips for how to avoid being readmitted to the hospital:
Ensure Proper Communication – Communication between the hospital and the patient and his or her caregiver(s) at discharge is crucial. Patients and caregivers need to fully understand what medications to take, when to take them, how to care for their wounds, and any other instructions that will help their recovery. Hospitals are doing their best, but you need to speak up. If there is something you don’t understand, be sure you ask questions and gain that understanding before you leave the hospital.
Take All Medications as Prescribed – This is often the toughest thing for patients to get right when they are discharged. If there is confusion, try using a Medication Tracking Chart, which also makes it easy to share your medications accurately with your other health providers. Here are some further tips for managing your medications.
Know What Symptoms to Look For & Who to Contact – It is important that you understand what signs and side effects to look for so that you can catch a problem before it develops into something that would require hospital admission. Catching issues when they are small can often be handled with a simple doctor’s visit. On that same note, make sure you leave the hospital with the contact name and number for the person you should contact if you run into issues.
Make Sure Someone is With You at Discharge – Your understanding of the instructions your doctor gives you and someone else’s understanding can be very different. For this reason, always try to have another set of ears with you when the doctor reviews your discharge instructions with you. That way, between the two of you, you will better be able to interpret the instructions.
Make Sure You Leave With Written Instructions – It isn’t enough for the doctor to verbally tell you your discharge instructions because it leaves too much room for misinterpretation and confusion. Make sure you leave with written instructions. That way you can show them to your caregiver(s) and other health providers as well, keeping everyone on the same page.
Get Home Care Help – ON of the best solutions for how to avoid being readmitted to the hospital is to get the right help. While a family member might want to help, a home care nurse or caregiver who is trained to care for discharged patients can be a tremendous help in ensuring the proper care is being given. This care can be invaluable in your recovery. Learn more about home care services here.
Start Planning Upon Admission – Don’t wait till the day you are being discharged from the hospital to plan your care thereafter. Upon admission, you should be thinking about and planning who will help care for you when you leave the hospital, as well as what additional help you will need to hire, such as home care, accompaniment transportation, household help, etc.
Get All of Your Health Providers on the Same Page & Do Proper Follow Up – Make sure all of your care providers are on the same page. Bring your discharge papers and medication tracking sheet with you to appointments following your hospital stay, and be sure to schedule your follow up appointments right away.
Take Advantage of Urgent-Care Clinics & Your Primary Care Physician – The ER doesn’t have to be the first place you run to when there is a problem. Start with your family care physician, and if it is after hours, visit a 24-hour urgent-care clinic. Of course, there are instances when the ER is the best place to be, so you will need to make a judgment call.
Eat the Proper Foods – Wellness is the primary key to how to avoid being readmitted to the hospital. Certain medications interact poorly with certain foods so make sure you understand what you should and shouldn’t eat before leaving the hospital. Plus, proper nutrients are important for your recovery, so read up on proper nutrition and eat for wellness. We have compiled a great amount of invaluable nutrition information for you here.
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