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5 of the Most Common Risk Factors for Elderly Hospital Readmissions

A hospital readmission represents a major setback for seniors that’s usually preventable.


A hospital readmission represents a major setback for seniors that’s usually preventable. When your aging loved one leaves the hospital, the medical team has determined that he or she is well enough to continue recovery at home. However, things often happen after a hospital discharge that cause seniors to get sick or injured again. These five common risk factors all indicate a higher potential for being readmitted to the hospital, and you can help your loved one lower the risk each one poses by planning well for his or her aftercare.

1. Having A Serious Prior Health Condition

Heart and lung problems are among the most common reasons older adults are rushed back to the hospital. If your loved one has COPD, a history of heart attacks, or other serious cardiovascular and respiratory issues, it’s important to do what you can to keep these under control. Taking medication appropriately and following a healthy diet plan are important ways to prevent a current health condition from getting worse.

In Canada, senior home care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at TheKey are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

2. Experiencing A History Of Mental Illness

Seniors who have recently been ill or received a new health diagnosis may develop a sense of despair. Try to surround your loved one with loving support that helps him or her maintain a positive perspective on life. Often, something as simple as having someone share a meal with them is enough to give seniors the motivation they need to decide to keep working on their treatment plan.

3. Failing To Understand The Discharge Instructions

Doctors and nurses sometimes use confusing medical language that the average person may not understand. For instance, your loved one may have difficulty understanding the discharge instructions if his or her thinking is muddled from medications or changes in brain functioning, such as what happens after a stroke. Sleep deprivation could also cause you to make mistakes after hearing the discharge instructions. Make sure to request for everything to be handed to you in writing, and don’t be afraid to ask a doctor to repeat the instructions in simpler terms.

4. Taking New Medications

Medicine is an asset for helping people heal. However, the benefits can quickly be reversed if a mix-up or accident occurs. Seniors can easily forget to take their new medications on time, or they may mix them up. Medications can also have side effects that cause seniors to fall. Hire a caregiver stay near your loved one after beginning a new medication regimen to watch for changes in health and behavior.

5. Lacking Access To Help At Home

Your loved one may take pride in being independent, and he or she may be eager to break free from the hospital’s rules. While this is a great sign your loved one is strong enough for a good recovery, you also need to protect him or her from going overboard with trying to manage a normal daily routine. Helping your loved one access assistance from a caregiver allows time to rest and recover so trying to keep up with cooking, cleaning, and other tasks doesn’t lead to an injury.

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