Adverse events following discharge from a hospital stay can be prevented by careful discharge planning and by how well the patient and their family and/or caregivers understand and follow a treatment plan once they are home. Older people are usually more at risk for a hospital readmission since they usually have more than one health issue.
There are professionals who can assist patients and their caregivers to help them adjust to a new health care regime.
Here are some helpful tips:
Have a friend or family member who will be involved with your care be with you when you receive your discharge instructions so they can hear them and ask questions.
Be sure that you understand all of the instructions that are given to you. Do not be afraid to ask questions or ask for more information.
Get all prescriptions filled quickly and be sure to take them according to the directions on the prescription
Make sure any equipment you might need at home (walker, oxygen, hospital bed, shower chair) is ordered in advance and delivered before you arrive home.
Get a copy of the hospital discharge summary and make sure that it has written instructions about your illness, and any changes in diet or activity level, symptoms to watch for, medications and follow up appointments
Here are some questions to ask during a hospital stay:
Where will I get care after I leave the hospital?
What problems/symptoms should I watch for and what do I do if they occur?
Have my medications been changed? Should I stay on the new medication when I leave the hospital?
Will I need medical equipment? How do I arrange for this?
Will I need assistance at home? Will I be able to climb stairs?
Will my family need assistance in taking care of me? How do I pay for it?
Being informed about your medical condition, what to do and what type of support you may need will help you reduce the risk of a visit to the Emergency department and/or readmission to a hospital.