Returning home from a hospital stay can result in unexpected challenges for many seniors, and as a result, millions of older Americans are spending billions of dollars on healthcare costs that could be avoided through simple planning.
This holiday season, Snohomish County’s Long Term Care and Aging Division is joining with Eldercare Locator, a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging, to encourage older adults, caregivers and families to use this holiday season to discuss potential hospital visits and to start planning ahead for a smooth transition from hospital to the home.
“Cost savings and better health outcomes are the benfits when older patients and their caregivers actively plan for hospital stays,” said Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon. “Since many families are together for the holidays, this is an ideal time to make such plans and preparations.”
Nearly one in five Medicare patients discharged from the hospital is readmitted within 30 days due to an injury resulting from medical management – not the underlying disease – costing more than $26 billion annually. Studies have found that between 40 percent and 50 percent of readmissions are linked to social problems and a lack of community resources.
Eldercare Locator and the United Hospital Fund’s Next Step in Care has released a consumer guide that can be used by Snohomish County’s families and caregivers to lead the discussion this holiday season. The guide, which provides planning tips for pre-hospital check-in as well as post-checkout from the hospital, is available atwww.n4a.org/pdf/HospitaltoHome.pdf.
Some of the questions families and caregivers are encouraged to discuss include:
“As we age, the likelihood of a hospital stay increases, and it is critical to plan before that time arrives,” said Kathy Greenlee, Assistant Secretary for Aging with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “We encourage families and caregivers to take advantage of their time with older relatives this holiday season to talk about the brochure’s important cost-saving and potentially life-saving tips.”
For more local information, call Snohomish County Senior Information and Assistance at 425-513-1900 or 1-800-422-2024.
About Eldercare Locator
The Eldercare Locator is the first step to finding resources for older adults in any U.S. community and a free national service of the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) that is administered by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a). Contact the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116 or www.eldercare.gov.
About Next Step in Care
The United Hospital Fund’s Next Step in Care website (www.nextstepincare.org) has guides for family caregivers on many aspects of transitions, including medication management, discharge checklists, hospice and palliative care and many others. The guides are free and available in English, Spanish, Chinese and Russian.