Home Care After Hospitalization Saves Money and Lives

Home Care After Hospitalization Saves Money and Lives

After a hospital visit, there’s a lot that goes into a healthy recovery — particularly for seniors. Most elderly adults need strong support systems in place after coming home from a hospital stay, relying on their spouses, friends, and children to help them through their recovery. Home Care After Hospitalization Saves Money and Lives
Increasingly, seniors are turning to another source of support after hospitalization: home care services. Elderly adults who already use home care services have found that a caregivers’ presence makes the recovery process far easier. Meanwhile, home care companies have begun to offer specialized post-hospital home care program, like the Ready-Set-Go Home program offered by Visiting Angels®.
Home care after a hospital visit isn’t just a big hit with seniors. Doctors and medical researchers love these programs, too. A recent study from the Cleveland Clinic shows why.
Researchers analyzed data for over 17,500 patients who had been discharged after a hospitalization. Roughly one third of the patients received home care services during recovery, while the other two thirds did not.
When researchers examined medical costs and health outcomes, they found that home care services saved money and saved lives. Adjusted post-discharge costs were $6,500 lower per patient when patients had support from professional caregivers during recovery. Home care services also reduced patient’s risk of being readmitted to the hospital within a year by 22%, and reduced their risk of mortality over the same period by 25%.

Why Home Care After a Hospital Discharge?

So, what is it that makes home care services so helpful during the recovery period? If you’ve helped someone recover after a major hospitalization in the past, you can probably imagine how helpful a caregiver’s assistance can be at this time. But if the recovery process is new territory for you, the benefits of post-hospitalization home care might not be as obvious.
Any doctor can tell you that the risk of a hospital readmission is highest in the first thirty days after a hospital discharge. That risk is particularly high for elderly adults. It can grow even higher depending on the reason the person was hospitalized in the first place.
Readmissions happen for a number of reasons. Sometimes, seniors forget to follow doctors’ orders. Other times, they remember the orders, but they don’t have the energy or physical capacity to follow directives without assistance. In either case, having a professional caregiver there increases the chances that these directives will be properly followed.
Readmissions can also occur because seniors push themselves too hard during their recovery. After being hospitalized, seniors’ physical well-being is typically compromised. Many need help with basic tasks like dressing and bathing. Others risk injury or complications by overexerting themselves. A caregiver’s presence reduces the likelihood of elderly adults pushing themselves beyond safe limits during their recovery.
Home care services offer benefits that go beyond reducing seniors’ risk of readmission to the hospital. By helping seniors with personal and day-to-day activities, caregivers make the recovery process more comfortable and livable for elderly adults. They also provide conversation and human contact, which housebound seniors appreciate during the recovery period.
Finally, caregivers make life much easier during the recovery period for family and friends, who are often tasked with acting as unpaid caregivers. Many people find themselves overwhelmed when helping someone recover after a hospital stay. In these situations, the respite and support of home care professionals can be invaluable.

Finding Quality Post-Hospital Home Care

A hospital discharge is a hectic, busy, and stressful time. That can make it difficult to find high-quality care services for a loved one who needs them. Difficult — but not impossible.
If you have a loved one who is currently hospitalized, or simply wish to be prepared in the event that this occurs, here are some tips on finding high-quality home care services for after a hospital discharge:

  • Start Researching Early. When an elderly loved one is hospitalized, it is a good idea to start planning for discharge care as early as you’re able to do so. In rare cases, such as a planned surgery, you may have months in advance to plan for care.
  • Speak with Medical Staff. You loved one’s doctors and nurses will be planning your loved one’s discharge. While they might not be able to give you definitive answers early on, they will have the strongest sense of what he or she will need from home care services.
  • Plan with Friends and Family. Talk to your loved one’s family and friends about how they might be able to contribute to post-discharge care. Plan for varying scenarios and try to figure out how much outside support you will need. Try not to be overconfident in terms of the time and energy you and others will be able to commit.
  • Research Local Care Providers. These days, it’s not hard to find high-quality home care services in most communities. Research your options for local providers online and compile a shortlist of possible companies.
  • Speak with Agency Directors. Get in contact with local home care service agencies and speak with staff over the phone to get an initial sense of whether they’re prepared to meet your needs. If you feel an agency may be a strong fit, set up an in-person meeting to discuss your care needs.

If you are currently searching for qualified post-hospital home care services in your area, we encourage you to contact Visiting Angels to learn more about our services and the availability of our Ready-Set-Go Home services. Simply call 800-365-4189 to get started, or contact your local Visiting Angels office.

Home Care After Hospitalization Saves Money and Lives

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About the Author

Richard Bitner

Visiting Angels is a national, private duty network of senior care agencies. We are proud to be the nation’s leading provider of non-medical at home care services. With our elder care services, seniors can remain independent and live safely at home. Our senior care services include Social Care, Dementia Care, Alzheimer’s Care, End of Life Care, Companion Care, Private Duty Care, care to prevent hospital readmission, and so much more.

Compassionate, dignified at home senior care is close to home when you connect with your local Visiting Angels office by calling 800-365-4189.

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