January 15, 2013
Older adults suffering from one or more chronic conditions are no strangers to doctors’ offices and hospitals. You and your colleagues have likely seen many cases where frustrating limitations have turned into debilitating complications requiring hospitalization.
While not all hospitalizations due to chronic conditions in older patients are avoidable, a number of interventions such as patient and family education, proactive warning sign monitoring and additional care support can go a long way to help patients better manage their chronic conditions and avoid costly hospital visits and readmissions.
Here are a number of tips and resources to reduce hospitalization risk for three of the most common chronic conditions affecting seniors: arthritis, congestive heart failure and diabetes.
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, the two most common forms of arthritis in older adults, account for a large number of hospitalizations each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In addition to prescribed medications to help treat the symptoms of arthritis, your patients should know about the lifestyle modifications recommended by the Arthritis Foundation® to help manage their symptoms and avoid complications that may require more advanced care.
- Arthritis video series hosted by the Arthritis Foundation
- Living at Home with Arthritis – Family Caregiver Recorded Webinar
- Additional arthritis resources
Someone living with arthritis may also benefit from additional in-home care support to help effectively manage their symptoms and complete their tasks of daily living. Patients and their families may find these lists helpful helpful.
Congestive Heart Failure
In adults over 60, congestive heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization and death, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM). While congestive heart failure is a serious health risk, it’s possible for patients to manage many symptoms effectively if they adhere to prescribed regimens, and can recognize warning signs that require medical attention, according to JMH.
For symptom information sheets and other helpful resources related to congestive heart failure to share with your senior patients and their families, visit:
If your senior patient is transitioning home after a hospital stay due to heart failure, download these lists for your patients and families to help them avoid a return trip to the hospital.
Having diabetes increases older adult’s risk of many serious health problems that often lead to hospitalizations, including nerve damage, poor circulation, foot ulcers, high blood pressure, and kidney failure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, with treatment, certain recommended for lifestyle changes, and access to support resources, your elderly patients with diabetes may be able to properly manage their condition to prevent or delay the onset of complications.
- Managing Diabetes in Older Adults – video series
- In-home care resources for seniors with diabetes -
US version (PDF 486 KB) Canada version (PDF 360 KB)
- Additional diabetes resources
Learn more about these common seniors conditions and others that contribute to a senior’s risk of hospitalization and readmission.
For more information about reducing seniors’ risk of hospital readmissions, visit www.returninghomecare.com.
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