A common occurrence throughout the country is regularly seen at most hospitals. More and more elderly patients are readmitted to the hospital shortly after discharge because of Canada’s aging demographics. 12 percent of more than 700,000 senior patients had to be readmitted after discharge, founds a recent study. Forty percent of these hospitalized patients had 5 or more chronic health conditions. Most of these included arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease cancer or anxiety and depression.
Many of the seniors who are readmitted to the hospital are frail and have dementia. At times they have been discharged from another hospital and end up being readmitted to a new one. Their records have to be tracked down to find out why they are back in the hospital again.
Why are seniors being re-hospitalized more?
- Many seniors do not get timely follow-ups with their family doctor or their specialist. It may be weeks before they are able to see a doctor once they are discharged from the hospital.
- Some patients have problems getting new prescriptions filled or they have difficulty figuring out when or how often to take their medications.
- A new factor that has been associated with hospital re-admissions is inadequate home care. For those who were discharged with home care provided, readmission was likely. Longer stays in the hospital were also the result. Patients who were admitted from nursing homes were another group who were likely to be readmitted.
Hospitals are sending patients back to nursing homes prematurely, before they are well enough to leave. The hospitals also expect the nursing homes to provide more follow up care than they can provide. We now know that patients who are sent home with home care need to be watched more closely than they have been previously. Comprehensive home care services are needed but with these comes a higher cost in services. To read the full article on hospitalized seniors and health care, click here.