Returning home after receiving care in a hospital or rehabilitation facility can be challenging. During and after this transition, it is important to take the necessary safety precautions to avoid any accidents that may result in readmission to the hospital. Below is a list of some of the most common causes for hospital readmission and tips to avoid them. While this list does not include all possible causes, it can help prime you for practicing the safest behaviors at home.
It is very important to take prescribed medications as instructed. Skipping a dosage, taking an incorrect dosage, or taking medication at the incorrect time can increase chances of another hospitalization. If you have concerns about the cost of medications, ask your doctor or pharmacist about cheaper alternatives or programs that can reduce out of pocket costs. If managing the timing and dosage of medication is an issue, consider our complete guide to medication dispensers.
After being hospitalized, it is common to feel weaker, more unsteady, or fatigued. These conditions increase the chance of falling. If using a new or different assistive device such as a walker, oxygen, or supportive bathroom/shower device, the risk of falling is also higher until the device is more familiar. It is important to consider how routine tasks, such as taking out the garbage or walking to the restroom at night, may be temporarily more challenging after being hospitalized, so use caution when performing these tasks.
Eating nutritious foods at home after a hospital stay can help with healing and returning to normal activities sooner. Risk of malnutrition increases if you have difficulties traveling to buy food, preparing food, chewing, swallowing, or have a poor appetite. Ask your doctor or a dietitian about resources to help with any of the above difficulties.
Many patients who no longer drive face challenges getting to their doctor appointments. When discharged from the hospital, some will call an ambulance and end up in the emergency room and are readmitted even though their concern could have been treated at their doctor’s office. If there is no reliable public transportation nearby, or nobody available to offer a ride, consider our guide to getting a ride from a company like Uber or Lyft.
After being discharged, it is very important to ensure any wound or incision is taken care of to prevent infection. Be sure to ask the medical team for a list of infection red flags that indicate you should seek immediate medical treatment. Always follow standard recommendations for preventing infections such as thorough hand washing and keeping bandages, tubing, and other medical supplies sterile.