AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

The Affordable Care Act has made many dramatic changes to the face of healthcare in this country, but one of the most notable is the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program. This program, referred to as HRRP, is a specific section within the Care Act that calls for penalties to hospitals that see a high volume of preventable readmissions among Medicare patients. This measure is aimed at improving the care that seniors receive within the healthcare system, but it is not just the responsibility of doctors and medical facilities to help seniors achieve better health for the long term. For many families preparing a senior care plan for their aging loved one, home health care offers an opportunity to avoid hospital readmissions and improve overall health and quality of life.

8448 hospital readmission How To Avoid Hospital ReadmissionHome care agencies provide non-medical in-home care to seniors who need assistance fulfilling Activities of Daily Living and managing a variety of health concerns. Home care offers seniors the chance to “age in place” and maintain a greater sense of independence and control while still meeting their daily needs. This arrangement speaks to the desire of many seniors to remain in their own homes during their aging years as opposed to transitioning into an assisted living or skilled nursing care facility.

Avoiding costly hospital readmissions for seniors is not just about complying with the HRRP, but also about offering seniors an improved quality of life and less strain on their healthcare budgets. Some of the major ways that home care can help seniors include:

Improved Treatment Plan Compliance

Compliance is a serious consideration in the area of senior care. A treatment plan is only as effective as the willingness or ability of a senior to comply with the specifications of the plan. Particularly for seniors who have recently suffered from serious medical complications including heart failure, pneumonia and acute myocardial infarction, treatment plan compliance is a critical step in recovery and maintaining health. Non-medical in-home care can help seniors comply with guidelines with medication reminders and treatment support.

Reducing Fall Risk

The majority of serious injuries suffered by seniors each year, and likewise the source of a high percentage of hospital visits each year, are caused by falls. A home care agency can help reduce the risk of serious injury caused by falls by removing obstacles from the home and providing mobility assistance. This is especially important in the most dangerous areas of the home: the kitchen, the staircase and the bathroom. By helping seniors move around the home and fulfill needs such as bathing, using the restroom and providing basic care for the home, in-house senior care professionals reduce the risk that a senior will fall and injure himself which could result in a visit to the hospital and potential further consequences.

Early Intervention

Many hospital readmissions are the direct result of conditions that remerge or worsen and go undetected until the situation becomes quite severe. Having the presence of home care services in a senior’s home provides a line of defense against such readmissions. A home health care professional will monitor a senior’s symptoms and ensure early intervention if signs or symptoms arise that indicate a problem has surfaced. This early intervention means faster response from the medical team which can allow modifications to the treatment plan not necessitating a return to the hospital.

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About the author: David Caesar is a VP at a leading national senior care provider.


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