Expanding Care
Medical Emergencies at Home
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By Hilary Young

Would it shock you to learn that hospital Medicare readmission rates in America were at an all-time high between 2005 and 2011? The national average readmission rate for heart failure hovered around 25 percent, and near the 20 percent mark for both heart attack and pneumonia. In 2012, however, after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) decided to issue a series of incentives to help lower readmission rates in hospitals across the country, the rates finally started to decline.

A major factor in reducing readmissions to the hospital after experiencing a medical emergency was optimizing the transition of care between the hospital and home. It turns out that in many cases, patients were being discharged from the hospital without being given the right knowledge and tools to increase their chances of full recovery. The incentives established by CMS, however, showed that those who receive care at home after a hospital stay, have a much greater chance of success.

In Home Care After A Hospitalization

There are several medical emergencies that CMS has targeted when it comes to receiving in home care after a hospitalization:

Heart Attack and Heart Failure
Having a heart attack is a life-changing experience, and for many, the recovery for a heart episode involves making changes to their lifestyle. Harvard Medical School identified some critical steps that can be taken after surviving a heart attack that can not only aid in the recovery, but also in preventing another heart attack in the future. A private caregiver can help your loved one take those steps--from medication management, to getting blood pressure under control, to making dietary changes, to engaging in safe and monitored exercises. Making an investment in getting care at home will give your loved one the extra support they need for their heart to fully recover.

Pneumonia
Pneumonia can be a deadly diagnosis for older adults, especially during cold and flu season. Adults over the age of 85 are more susceptible to developing pneumonia, and can have a longer recovery time than those who are younger--taking up to a month or more to return to their normal routines. Pneumonia is serious and requires medication adherence, warm fluids, and plenty of rest. Because pneumonia can linger in older adults, it is crucial to take every possible step to achieve a full recovery. Establishing in home care upon returning from the hospital can help ensure a speedy recovery. While your loved one rests, a private caregiver can prepare meals, clean the house, make warm tea and soup, and administer the proper medications prescribed by their doctor.

Hip or Knee Replacement
Hip or knee replacement surgery is a serious operation that has an equally serious recovery procedure. Many patients need rehab services afterwards, but feel anxiety regardless of when they return home. The Cleveland Clinic acknowledges that the first 48 hours back at home can be the hardest and it’s important to follow discharge instructions in order to stay healthy. Having round-the-clock care at home can help ease any stress your loved one may be feeling and also ensure that they are following their discharge orders. 

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD)
If your loved one is living with COPD, they probably relied on receiving care at home before a hospital stay occurred. If they have a flare up that lands them in the hospital, increasing the level of care at home will help them confront the limitations they face in their activities of daily living, like bathing, preparing meals, and proper medication management. 

Hiring A Private Caregiver For Your Recovery

Just like going to an outpatient rehab facility, a private caregiver can provide your loved one with a transitional experience to allow them more time to recover in a safe and familiar environment. The best part about hiring a private caregiver? You can schedule them for as many or as few hours as your loved one needs for a proper recovery, including live-in care as necessary.

CaregiversDirect makes it easy to not only hire a private caregiver, but to also make changes to your loved one’s care plan at any time should their health needs change. We’ll work with you to figure out exactly what your family needs, and when, in order to provide you and your loved one the support they need to live their best life. 

Call our Care Team at 1-800-370-3377 to talk about hiring a caregiver or increasing your loved one’s current care plan.