Avoiding Hospital Readmission

When you’ve just gotten out of the hospital, you’re ready to start enjoying the comfort of home again and getting back on your feet and the last thing you want is to have to go back in.  Sometimes people with chronic illnesses may be admitted to the hospital repeatedly, but many readmissions are avoidable, particularly for one-time procedures like hip and knee replacements.  The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, encourages hospitals to work to reduce readmissions, but unfortunately much of the burden still falls on families.  Repeated hospital stays put unnecessary financial pressure on you and your family and can put you at risk for infectious diseases and worsen conditions like dementia.

So what can you do to reduce the chances that you’ll end up back in the hospital for something that doesn’t warrant a trip?  There are four major causes of preventable hospital readmissions:

  • Problems with medication management
  • Confusion about your care plan
  • Missing your follow-up appointment with your primary care doctor
  • Insufficient home support

In a series over the next two weeks, we’ll address each of these causes in detail and offer practical advice for how to manage your health when you’ve just been released from the hospital.  It’s important to remember that sometimes readmission is unavoidable.  If you are having any kind of unusual symptoms, you should call 911 immediately and return to the hospital.