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6 Negative Consequences of Hospital Readmissions for Older Adults

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Hospital readmissions are stressful for seniors and can even lead to devastating health consequences. The risk for life-threatening illnesses rises with the number of times aging adults are readmitted to the hospital. Here are some reasons hospital readmissions are detrimental to seniors.

1. Deconditioning 

Deconditioning occurs following an extended period of bed rest, inactivity, or hospitalization, and it can cause a decrease in mental health as well as severe weakness, muscle atrophy, and diminished leg strength. Deconditioning also raises the risk of accidents and injuries. Because deconditioning can cause muscle wasting, your senior loved one may be unable to stand up without assistance.

A professional in-home caregiver can closely monitor your loved one’s health and safety. Roseville senior care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.

2. Skin Problems

Prolonged bed rest, along with friction shear, can cause decubitus ulcers and skin tears. The risk of skin problems is high in hospitalized seniors who also have diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, or dehydration. Open wounds can also lead to infections, which may require antibiotic therapy. Older adults may experience severe side effects from antibiotics, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and antibiotic resistance.

3. Issues with New Medications

Hospital readmissions frequently result in new medications, which can cause significant side effects. Aging adults may develop dizziness, blurred vision, gastrointestinal disorders, loss of appetite, and cognitive decline from medication side effects. New medications may also interact with current medications, raising the risk for dangerous heart and blood pressure problems, bleeding tendencies, serum potassium abnormalities, and allergic reactions.

A professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support for a senior who’s recovering after being hospitalized. When searching for reliable home care agencies, families want to know their senior loved one will be well taken care of. At Home Care Assistance, our expertly trained caregivers are available around the clock to assist with tasks around the house, provide transportation to medical appointments and social events, and much more.

4. Temporary Delirium

Unfamiliar situations, new diagnoses, medication side effects, and hospital commotion can contribute to temporary delirium while in the hospital. Delirium commonly occurs during the evening hours when the sun goes down, but it can also occur during the day. Gentle redirection, reorientation, and reassurance can prevent disorientation, delirium, and confusion while in the hospital.

5. Embolism Risk

Prolonged bed rest can raise the risk for an embolism caused by a blood clot that has dislodged. Contributory factors include poor circulation, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and medications and health conditions that increase platelet aggregation. If the physician believes your loved one is at risk for embolism development, anticoagulants will be ordered. Anticoagulants, also known as blood thinners, decrease platelet aggregation so the blood is less likely to form clots.

6. Digestive Distress

Hospital readmissions can cause emotional upheaval, loss of appetite, and loss of sleep, all of which may lead to digestive distress. Dietary changes, physical therapy sessions, and new medications can also cause digestive problems. If your loved one isn’t interested in eating or develops diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting, tell the nurse, who will call the attending physician. Once your loved one has become acclimated to the hospital routine, digestive issues may resolve. If necessary, the physician will discontinue certain medications known for causing gastrointestinal problems.

Whether you need respite from your caregiving duties or your aging loved one needs live-in care, Roseville, CA, Home Care Assistance can meet your family’s care needs. Our dedicated caregivers are available around the clock to provide transportation to doctor’s appointments, ensure seniors take their prescribed medications, and help with a variety of tasks in and outside the home. Reach out to us at Home Care Assistance if you need compassionate, professional care for your loved one. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at 916.226.3737.