When an aging family member is discharged from a hospital it is imperative that a responsible family member or a professional like a Geriatric Care Manager follow up. About 20% of seniors who are discharged from hospitals end up being re-hospitalized because they were confused with the discharge plan or didn’t see their primary physician timely enough post hospitalization.
This is most important with those hospitalized for cardiac events, such as Congestive Heart Disease. But, any trip to the hospital can result in major medication changes made by a hospitalist and not the primary doctor. If the old medications are not tossed and replaced by the new orders, a patient could end up over medicated, which could result in death. Also, it is important for the elder to follow other new instructions that might mean diet changes, exercise, therapies or other changes to the daily activities of life. Without a coach, things can easily go south because the senior didn’t understand the importance of sleeping on two pillows or avoiding sodium (many individuals think only the salt shaker is salt – and don’t read labels).
Families at a distance, with seniors to oversee, should seek out the assistance of a Professional Geriatric Care Manager, even if it is for just a short period, to be sure they are compliant with new orders and that the primary care physician is brought up to date and concurs with the new orders.