Avoiding Hospital Readmission

Coming Home from the Hospital- And Staying Home

One in five Medicare patients admitted to the hospital returns to the hospital within 30 days1. Many of these return trips are preventable.

What is a hospital readmission?

A hospital readmission refers to a patient being admitted in to a hospital, typically within 30 days of being released from a previous hospital stay. A readmission to a hospital can be both costly, as well as hazardous to your health. Following the proper procedures after being discharged will help you steer clear of another visit.

Avoiding a return trip

If you were recently in the hospital, you received a lot of care from doctors and nurses. But now it’s time to focus on caring for yourself at home. Follow these tips to reduce your chances of facing readmission:

Mind your medications

When leaving the hospital, ask these questions:

  • What new medications do I need? What are they used for?
  • How do I take each medication? When do I take it?
  • What side effects could I experience and what should I do?
  • What changes are there to the medications I was taking before being in the hospital?

Be sure you take medications as directed. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

See Your Doctor

You or a family member should call your doctor to make a follow-up appointment within the first week of discharge from the hospital. Follow-up visits are important to monitor your progress, answer questions, and prevent problems from developing.

Follow Care Instructions

Your doctor will have given you instructions about follow-up care after your hospital visit. Following these is an important part of avoiding readmission. Be sure to ask questions if you are unsure about any of the guidelines.

1. “A Path Forward on Medicare Readmissions.” K. Joynt, A. Jha. N Engl J Med. March 2013, vol. 368, pp. 1175–77. DOI: 10.1056/
NEJMp1300122.

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