Senior Citizen's Guide to Philadelphia and Suburbs Fall/Winter 2014 - 15 - page 6

Say You Saw It in the Senior Citizen’s Guide to Philadelphia & Suburbs
You’ve probably heard that healthcare is changing
rapidly, or experienced it firsthand. Many changes are
exciting. For instance, new technology, medicines and
treatments are becoming available that can help make
coping with disease, chronic pain and other issues that
seniors face much easier, and these resources can even
help save lives.
Other changes in healthcare, while positive, may
also be challenging for older adults. For instance, today
patients can often leave the hospital sooner than they
could in years past. While this is a welcome advance,
since many seniors prefer to recover in their own homes
or in another facility, it can also be a time of stress if they
aren’t prepared.
Lack of Preparation Puts You at Risk
Leaving the hospital before you are ready can also
bring increased risk. According to a New England Journal
of Medicine study, more than a third of Medicare patients
were readmitted to a hospital within 90 days of discharge.
More than half were readmitted within one year.
Why is this happening? There are a number of reasons.
But one contributing factor is that some seniors and their
families don’t coordinate their care and adequately prepare
for leaving the hospital. It’s not because they refuse
to do so—it’s usually because they simply don’t realize
everything that’s involved.
In addition, some seniors are so eager to leave that
they go home before they clearly understand how to use
their medications or follow doctor’s orders. Or they don’t
recognize warnings signs and wait too long to check with
their doctor if there is an issue. Combined, these factors
What’s Your Plan for WhenYou
Leave the Hospital?
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