Readmission to the hospital can be especially stressful, costly, and even dangerous—under some circumstances—for seniors. In general, individuals 65 and older are more likely than their younger counterparts to return to the hospital for the same problem or a related issue. To get a better idea of how impactful going back to the hospital can be for older adults, here’s a closer look at some of the latest stats on senior hospital readmissions.
Readmissions Among Seniors with Medicare
Based on National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) information compiled within the past five years, Medicare prepared a report showing nearly 20 percent of traditional Medicare or fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare recipients 65 and over ended up back in the hospital within a month of discharge. Specifically, readmissions were more likely to occur within the first few weeks of release. Only a third of senior readmissions occurred between 16–30 days post-discharge, according to the Medicare report.
Conditions Likely to Result in Readmission
Heart failure, acute myocardial infarctions (heart attacks), and pneumonia rank as the top conditions likely to bring seniors back to the hospital. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) identified additional conditions likely to result in readmission for seniors, including:
• Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
• Septicemia (blood poisoning related to toxins or bacteria)
• Cardiac dysrhythmia (an abnormal heartbeat)
Higher Readmission Rates Among Older Adults
Seniors with heart failure had an average readmission age of just over 80 years. Medicare reported a similar average age for seniors readmitted for other common health conditions, suggesting older seniors are more likely to return to the hospital. Readmission also increases the risk of developing hospital-acquired infections, which tend to be more problematic for older seniors with immune systems already affected by other conditions or preexisting health issues.
Professional in-home caregivers can monitor seniors for post-hospitalization complications, including infections. Elderly home care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
High Cost of Senior Readmissions
Even when seniors have coverage through Medicare, private health insurance, or supplemental insurance plans, readmission can come with a hefty price tag. According to the 2019 America’s Health Rankings Senior Report, readmissions for seniors result in nearly $25 billion in additional Medicare costs alone. Total costs for senior hospital readmissions are more than $40 billion.
Flaws in Post–Acute Care
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association suggests some senior hospital readmissions may be partially due to a lack of sufficient post–acute care. According to the study, nearly a quarter of all seniors discharged to an acute care facility for post-hospital care were readmitted within 30 days of release. Also, seniors readmitted from post–acute care facilities were less likely to be able to return home or to their previous community living arrangements.
Some seniors only require help with a few daily tasks so they can maintain their independence. However, those living with serious illnesses may need more extensive assistance. Luckily, there is professional live-in care San Antonio, TX, seniors can rely on. Home can be a safer and more comfortable place for your loved one to live with the help of an expertly trained and dedicated live-in caregiver.
Role of Post-Hospital Care
The study’s lead author noted that readmission was more likely to occur when seniors needed more extensive care following discharge. Such care includes the need for ongoing oxygen therapy, additional care for underlying health issues, and the use of specialized devices, such as urinary catheters or feeding tubes.
An at-home caregiver can be a wonderful source of support for a senior who’s recovering after being hospitalized. Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of San Antonio homecare services. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more. We will work with you to create a customized home care plan that’s suited for your loved one’s unique needs. Call the Home Care Assistance team at (210) 495-6300 today.