If your spouse, parent, or other close loved one has recently been released from a lengthy hospital stay to recover in the privacy of his or her own home, you may be worried about taking over caregiving duties that were performed by trained physicians and nurses just a few days prior. How can you be certain you're doing the right thing, and what should you do to prevent your loved one from needing to be readmitted to the hospital? Read on to learn more about how you can help prevent hospital readmissions by enlisting the assistance of a home health care agency (go to websites like this for further information) during your loved one's recuperation.
Why is readmission a particular concern after being released from a hospital stay?
While being in a hospital setting can provide many advantages to very ill or injured individuals (or even those who just need careful monitoring), hospitals can also pose dangers to those with compromised immune systems. The sheer number of different potentially contagious illnesses present in a hospital at any given time can be enough to infect even the hardiest individuals if certain precautions aren't taken.
Because of this, it's nearly always in your relative's best interest to recuperate outside the hospital unless serious treatment is needed. In fact, the federal government even penalizes hospitals whose readmission rates within 30 days of discharge rise too high in an effort to encourage thorough treatment and aftercare. By helping your relative avoid further injury or infection during the recovery process, you'll be able to improve his or her odds of a full comeback.
What should you do to help reduce the chances of a readmission?
Fortunately, there are some things you can do that can dramatically lower the odds of a hospital readmission for your loved one.
Unless you have a background in nursing or a particular knack for changing dressings or administering medication on a timely basis, you'll likely want to consult a home health care agency to send a worker once or twice per day to help attend to these tasks for your recovering relative. Because these workers are well-trained and knowledgeable, they'll be able to assist your relative to help reduce the incidence of infection, monitor potentially adverse reactions to medication, and even help provide a dispassionate third-party perspective on the recovery process. Enlisting a home health care worker can help you stay abreast of any changes in your relatives condition so that you can seek care before a small issue turns into a larger one.
You'll also want to practice good hygiene yourself (and enforce it for all members of the family). For those whose immune systems have been compromised by days or weeks of hospital treatment, even minor bacteria can pose problems. You'll need to wash your hands every time you touch your face or mucus membranes, use the restroom, or even handle money. By reducing the number of potentially harmful germs riding around on your body at any given time, you'll keep your home a healthier place for your relative's recovery.