Tips to avoid return trip to the hospital

Tips to avoid return trip to the hospital
Understand instructions, ask questions, follow through with treatment, expert says.

(HealthDay) —More than 1 million Americans end up back in the hospital just weeks after they're discharged, and many of those readmissions are preventable, according to an expert from Columbia University School of Nursing in New York City.

Patients can do their part to avoid return trips to the hospital by simply paying attention and speaking up when it's time to go home, advised Mary Donovan-Johnson, program director of the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program.

"Discharges are often rushed and patients may be overwhelmed during this stressful time," Donovan-Johnson said in a Columbia news release. "If you don't understand something a medical provider said, don't be afraid to ask your doctor or nurse to repeat the instructions... Ask the person accompanying you home to listen and take notes when instructions are being explained by your medical team."

Other steps you can take to reduce the odds of after discharge include:

  • Get all discharge instructions and information in writing, including directions for wound care, medications and food restrictions. Keep these instructions in a place where they are easily accessed.
  • After discharge, follow through on your treatment by filling prescriptions and taking medications as directed. If you have questions about your medications or other instructions, call your doctor.
  • Schedule follow-up visits with your doctor and blood tests or other procedures as directed, and keep those appointments.

"Ideally, the same team of doctors and nurses who worked with the patient would discharge them since they know the protocol in their medications, wound care, and how to set up the safest environment at home for them. But unfortunately, that doesn't always happen," Donovan-Johnson said. "So the patient needs to be vigilant about being an active participant in their recovery."

More information: Get more hospital discharge tips from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Doctors' orders lost in translation

Jul 17, 2008

When patients are discharged from the emergency department, their recovery depends on carefully following the doctors' instructions for their post care at home. Yet a vast majority of patients don't fully understand what ...

Coach could be key in helping stroke patients

Aug 07, 2012

When a stroke patient is discharged from the hospital, they often must cope with a new disability or lack of function, so changes in their medications or a new dosing prescription can be particularly confusing. This can lead ...

Recommended for you

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury (Update)

Apr 18, 2014

About half of all 16- to 18-year-olds coming into New York City's jails say they had a traumatic brain injury before being incarcerated, most caused by assaults, according to a new study that's the latest in a growing body ...

Autonomy and relationships among 'good life' goals

Apr 18, 2014

Young adults with Down syndrome have a strong desire to be self-sufficient by living independently and having a job, according to a study into the meaning of wellbeing among young people affected by the disorder.

User comments