Avoiding preventable hospital readmissions

According to data provided by Medicare, nearly one in five patients who leave the hospital are readmitted within the next month. Additionally, it was revealed that 75 percent of readmissions are preventable.
To try and avoid preventable readmissions, Medicare produced a checklist that patients can rely on when they are preparing to end their hospital stay. Therefore, it’s important to keep these items in mind during discharge:

  1. 1. Ask where you will get care after discharge. Do you have options (like home health care)? Be sure you tell the staff what you prefer.
  2. 2. If a caregiver will be helping you after discharge, write down their name and phone number.
  3. 3. Ask the staff about your health condition and what you can do to help yourself get better.
  4. 4. Ask about problems to watch for and what to do about them. Write down a name and phone number to call if you have problems.
  5. 5. Write down your prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Review the list with the staff. Tell the staff what drugs, vitamins, or supplements you took before you were admitted. Ask if you should still take these after you leave. Write down a name and phone number to call if you have questions.
  6. 6. Ask if you will need medical equipment (like a walker). Who will arrange for this? Write down where to call if you have questions about equipment.
  7. 7. Ask if you’re ready to do the activities listed below. Circle the ones you need help with and tell the staff.
  8. Bathing, dressing, using the bathroom, climbing stairs
  9. Cooking, food shopping, house cleaning, paying bills
  10. Getting to doctors’ appointments, picking up
  11. 8. Make sure you have support (like a caregiver) in place that can help you.
  12. 9. Ask the staff to show you and your caregiver any other tasks that require special skills (like changing a bandage or giving a shot). Then, show them you can do these tasks. Write down a name and phone number to call if you need help.
  13. 10. Ask to speak to a social worker if you’re concerned about how you and your family are coping with your illness. Write down information about support groups and other resources.
  14. 11. Talk to a social worker or your health plan if you have questions about what your insurance will cover and how much you will have to pay. Ask about possible ways to get help with your costs.
  15. 12. Ask for written discharge instructions (that you can read and understand) and a summary of your current health status. Bring this information and a list of medications to your follow-up appointments.
  16. 13. Write down any appointments and tests you will need in the next several weeks.

Returning to a normal way of life after a hospital stay isn’t an easy task, considering all of the steps that must be taken to fully recuperate. Therefore, we here at Freedom Home Care can be there to help, so don’t hesitate to contact us. And if you’d like the original checklist provided by Medicare, head here to print it out.