Welcome to the latest edition of Senior Snippets: the monthly advisory column with the older members of our community in mind, brought to you by Alexandra Sacker of Home Instead Senior Care in Enfield
Patients are uncertain and vulnerable when discharged after a long hospitalisation. These patients shift from being dependent and complacent while hospitalized to having significant responsibilities, which can potentially affect their risks for readmission.
The British Red Cross reported last week of a startling increase in the level of hospital readmissions. Figures showed a 22.8% increase since last year with the number of people being readmitted to hospital within 48 hours accounting for one in five emergency readmissions.
Quite often a person has to reach crisis point before asking for help and we at Home Instead often get called by family members concerned about the welfare of their loved ones asking us to step in as a matter of urgency. In an ideal world we would have been drafted in much sooner, to get the individual used to having someone helping them in their own home as well as getting to know the CareGIVER so when the time comes and care needs change a system is already in place. Our aim is to help people live well at home for as long as possible and reduce the risk of them being hospitalised which almost always has a detrimental effect on someone.
Read here about FIVE ways to help keep your loved one out of hospital:
Get a good GP
Establish a relationship with your loved ones GP. Make sure he/she is aware of your loved ones situation and inform the surgery of any arrangements you have made at home (for example let them know about Care Arrangements, Family members etc.)
Our CAREGivers are trained to spot ‘red flag’ changes in health such as worsening chronic conditions or unused medication, and can act to remedy this. They can also assist with transportation to appointments and help with medication management.
Keep active – physically and mentally
It’s amazing how good a short walk in the fresh air can make you feel! Encourage your relative to be as active as possible. Activities such as drawing, puzzles or learning a new skill all help to keep the brain active and stimulate the connections between nerve cells.
Maintain a healthy diet
The appetite of an older person is not the same as it was in younger years, however it is vital to maintain a balanced diet. Consummation of fresh fruit and vegetables, oily fish and starchy foods should be encouraged. Extra vitamin D and Calcium should be taken to combat osteoporosis.
It is important that your family member stays hydrated, even if they say they’re not thirsty. It is advisable to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day.
We believe, and research shows, that loneliness and isolation are harmful to our health. It is important to encourage social activities such as a lunch club or memory café or joining a social club. For more information on what is available in your area have a look at our What’s on Where Guide which can be requested through our office by calling 0203 6024068.
Home Care such as Home Instead can help you with all of the above, be it by providing Companionship, help around the house or preparing a healthy meal so that your relative can live well at home and reduce the risk of going to hospital.
We believe that with the right care, the number of unnecessary hospital admissions can be reduced.