Ron D’Aquila, RN
Over the next year, as a result of a new federal policy, twenty-three Connecticut hospitals will have to forfeit Medicare funds due to a certain percentage of their patients being readmitted within a month of discharge. The policy is called the Hospital Readmission Reduction Plan and falls under the Health Care Reform Act. The primary types of patients targeted are those with the diagnosis of Pneumonia, Heart Failure, and Heart Attack.
A Helpful Solution…
Connecticut has some excellent non-medical home care providers that can help patients upon discharge and I hope hospitals recognize this fact. Homemakers can provide grocery shopping and meal preparation to help clients adhere to a specific diet plan, provide medication reminders to promote compliance, and make sure client’s get to doctors follow-up appointments.
Personal Care Assistants and Live-in Companions can encourage clients to do light exercise, deep breathing, and other prescribed treatments – and they can recognize changes in client’s conditions that can be reported and addressed early, before readmission is needed (ie. foot and ankle swelling which may be a sign of congestive heart failure).
At Assisted Living Services, Inc. of Connecticut, our caregivers are all formally trained as Home Health Aides or Certified Nurses Aides and are ideally suited to assist clients that are deemed to have chronic and stable medical condition recover at home.
The use of certain assistive technologies can also promote wellness and safety, and can be a lower-cost option to “hands-on” care for some clients. For example, our sister company, Assisted Living Technologies, Inc. has Remote Monitoring Systems. By using motion and contact sensors placed throughout the home, we can get accurate, real-time reporting of Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s) and address issues before they become emergencies.
The systems can monitor eating patterns, medication compliance, sleep patterns, bathroom use, and wandering. Additionally, we are the only homecare agency in Connecticut with a program we call “Care Plus” – which combines the hands-on care of a PCA with a free Remote Monitoring System from BeClose. You can learn more about this exciting program here https://www.assistedlivingct.com/introducing-care-plus.php
I think as hospitals work through the issue of readmissions with their quality improvement processes they will identify the value of non-medical home care in post-hospital care.