Category: Hospital Stays

Nurse holding hand

In-Home Care Reduces Hospital Readmissions

A poor transition from the hospital to home is often the reason for unplanned, expensive, and often traumatic readmissions, many of which could have been prevented. Quality in-home healthcare can help improve the transition and prevent readmissions during the vulnerable time after hospital discharge. Unfortunately, the majority of patients in the U.S. are sent home without any supportive services. Repeated hospitalizations can be even more traumatic for the elderly, many of whom live alone. Incidents such as falls, unsupervised medication, pressure wounds, infections and a lack of other necessary follow-up care can send an elderly patient back to the hospital within days or weeks of discharge. Studies show that people who live alone have a 50 percent higher risk of unplanned readmission compared to those living with others. In-home care provides a cost-effective supplement to medical-based care transitions. Hospitalization for Illnesses Three of the most common illnesses that require hospitalization and are prone to readmission are Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), Pneumonia (PN), and Heart Attacks or Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI). Trained in-home caregivers can act as the critical link with other care providers, report early detection, and give much of the care necessary to prevent additional hospitalization. Dakota Home Care nurses and aides can monitor and report symptoms of these and many worsening or recurring illnesses: Congestive heart failure: weight loss or weight gain challenges, nutritional needs and restrictions, blood pressure monitoring, exercise requirements, etc. Pneumonia: oxygen requirements, medication reminders, good nutrition and the needed recuperation period for patients who have just been discharged. Acute Myocardial Infarction: heart rate monitoring, blood pressure, diet and exercise restrictions or recommendations, medication reminders and adjustments. Surgery that Requires Hospitalization Recovery from an operation takes time, especially for seniors. Not only do older bodies take longer to heal, but there are other factors to

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Doctor Making Heart Shape With Hands

Get Transitional Care Services to Help Recover from Heart Surgery

Recovering from heart surgery means experiencing a variety of transitional care needs, from dietary changes to incision care, managing pain, swelling minimization, and more. The last thing an older adult wants after coming back home from such a traumatic event is to face the need for rehospitalization. To help an older loved one recover as comfortably as possible after heart surgery, review the following recommendations for effective transitional care: Incision Care Details on how to care for the incision will be supplied prior to being discharged from the hospital. Issues to be aware of include: Avoid extreme cold or hot water temperatures, as they can cause dizziness. Always keep the incision clean and dry. The incision can be gently washed (don’t rub) with soap. Do not use lotions or creams on incisions until healing is complete. Occasionally, a swelling or lump appears at the top of the chest incision, and can take several months to go away completely. If the incision is healing and dry, brief showers (no longer than 10 minutes) are normally permitted. If there are sutures in the chest, stand with back to the shower spray. If showers are not available, quick baths (limited to ten minutes) may be taken. Managing Pain In the beginning of the recovery process, there may be some incision or muscle discomfort in the chest area during physical activity, but this should not include any pain that is similar to the pain they experienced before the surgery. Itching, tightness and/or numbness in the area of the incision are common after surgery. If the surgery was bypass surgery, and if vein grafts from the legs were used, there may be more pain in the legs than surrounding the chest incision. Walking, daily activities, and time will help to decrease leg discomfort and stiffness.

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Senior woman in wheelchair and arm sling at the hospital

Questions to Ensure an Easier Discharge From the Hospital

It’s a great feeling to hear that an older loved one is ready for discharge from the hospital after a surgical procedure. However, as they hand you that mountain of discharge documents and instructions, a certain degree of stress and anxiety may start to settle in. Will the senior adult you love be able care for herself at home? The senior care team at Dakota Home care is on hand to ensure you can arrange for an easy discharge from the hospital to home by detailing the questions you will need to get answered prior to a hospitalization or surgery: Who will be able to answer questions about the medications? Should I contact the doctor, the pharmacist, or does the hospital have someone else for me to reach out to with questions about care? Will the prescription medicines cause drowsiness or confusion? What symptoms should I keep an eye out for that might suggest a problem during recovery? What sorts of tasks might be overwhelming to perform when coming home, considering the nature of the surgery (such as taking a bath or shower, getting dressed, going up or down the stairs, picking up prescription drugs, preparing meals, shopping, driving, etc.)? Who is going to pick up medications? Do I need to depend on a family member for this responsibility? Will they be promptly available when a refill is required? What type of medical equipment might be needed (such as a walker, crutches, or telehealth tools), and who will supply them? What activities are not advisable after surgery? What phone numbers should I have on hand? Taking the time to learn about what you and the senior loved one need to do to ensure an easier discharge from the hospital can make the transition back home a more manageable process. However,

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