For many patients, getting discharged from the hospital is just one step on the long road to recovery. While hospitalization provides them the urgent care and attention they need, their journey toward full health often doesn’t begin until they’ve exited the hospital doors.
The transitional period after being discharged from the hospital and returning home can leave many patients vulnerable, worried and unprepared for the next part of their treatment plan. This is especially true for older patients – as on average, nearly 20 percent will be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of their discharge.[i]
That’s why more and more hospitals are re-evaluating their hospital’s transitional care practices – working harder to prevent adverse events and ensure a safe transition from hospital to home.
Here’s why more healthcare providers are recommending home healthcare over other transitional care opportunities:
More Patient Comfort and Independence
In the past, healthcare providers promoted hospice and skilled nursing facilities (SNF), along with other ambulatory care methods, like physical therapy, to ease the transition. But, now more than ever, they are recommending home healthcare over alternative transitional care.
Hospice care and SNFs offer seniors the 24/7 care they need, in a more comfortable, long-term environment than hospitals provide. Still, moving into a nursing home or other care facility requires a lot of time and physical work – which for some, is simply not feasible. Moving is also one of the biggest stressors in life, and taking an already-compromised individual out of their home environment is not ideal.
Home healthcare can provide seniors the around-the-clock monitoring and care they need, while allowing them to continue living at home. For the 90 percent of seniors who say they prefer to age at home, this presents a much better option than moving to another facility. By staying at home, they can also enjoy much more independence than a hospice or nursing home environment allows.
Significantly Reduced Readmission Rates
Ongoing, at-home preventative care and maintenance also significantly reduces the patient’s chances for hospital readmission.
A broad spectrum of adverse events can occur after discharge, including both diagnostic and therapeutic errors. However, adverse drug events (ADEs) and hospital-related complications – from communicable diseases to surgical infections – top the list of the most common problems requiring readmission. These issues can be easily caught – and in some cases, prevented or cured – by skilled home healthcare providers.
By having these problems resolved at home, seniors won’t have to deal with the difficult transition from home to hospital, and back again.
Quality Ongoing Care for Chronic Illness
Roughly 80 percent of older adults have at least one chronic disease, with the most common being heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes.[ii] Each of these conditions require daily monitoring and medication administration – which can be difficult for seniors to complete on their own. Home healthcare providers can provide the daily monitoring and dispense medication and help reduce the stress on seniors and their families while they remain in their homes.
Home healthcare not only helps prevent hospital readmission during the critical 30-day post-discharge window, it can also reduce the likelihood that patients will need emergency medical attention later on. Previously, doctors prioritized episode care needs, instead of focusing on continuing care and readmission prevention for chronic conditions.
Preventative and ongoing care are much more cost-effective for patients and hospitals than urgent care and emergency room visits and Home healthcare can provide a more affordable, ongoing option to proactively prevent emergency situations.
Home healthcare allows for higher quality patient care, while significantly reducing the cost burdens on patients, hospitals and insurance providers alike. Reduced hospital readmission rates benefit everyone – from hospitals and home healthcare providers to the patients themselves. By providing these transitional services, home healthcare agencies can fill an important void within the healthcare industry – while creating a stronger environment for patient-centered care.