Home Care Services Can Reduce Hospital Readmissions for Pneumonia Patients

When it comes to reducing hospital readmission rates, are you working with the right home care povider?

Section 3025 of the Affordable Care Act added section 1886q to the Social Security Act establishing the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, which requires CMS to reduce payments to IPPS hospitals with excess readmissions, effective for discharges beginning on October 1, 2012.

Pneumonia readmission rates are currently being tracked. Learn how home care can help reduce hospital readmission rates.

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an inflammation and infection in the lungs usually caused by viruses and bacteria. Alveoli, which are microscopic air sacs in the lungs that absorb oxygen, become inflamed and are filled with fluid, causing various symptoms such as a cough with phlegm, fever, chills, body aches, and shortness of breath.

Symptoms can vary in intensity from mild to severe. Factors such as age, health, and the type of germs associated with pneumonia will contribute to the seriousness of the sickness.

Those at high risk include:

Infants and children

Men and women age 65 or older.

Those suffering from health issues, such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), heart disease, emphysema, HIV/AIDS, or diabetes.

Why do seniors get admitted to the hospital when they have pneumonia?

It is not necessary for everyone who has pneumonia to seek hospital care, although certain signs indicate that one should seek medical care as soon as possible. Seniors especially are at risk of developing complications, so it is advised that anyone age 65 or older or those on oxygen, visit a medical professional if you believe you have pneumonia.

Furthermore, if you experience the following symptoms, seek medical attention immediately:

Confusion Rapid breathing

A sudden drop in blood pressure

Those that are on oxygen or respiratory therapy

Why Home Health Care Is Important For Seniors Who Have Pneumonia.

Seniors age 65 and older are more susceptible to developing pneumonia due to their age, health conditions, and weakened immune systems. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there are more deaths each year as a result of pneumonia complications than from car accidents.

Once a person contracts pneumonia, he or she has a higher chance of getting it again. In order to combat this, it is a good idea to have a home health care companion come into the home to assist with recovery and watch for worsening symptoms.

Home health care workers can assist with healthy meal preparation, monitor medication doses, encourage and assist with chores and light exercise, be sure home is sanitary, and make sure the patient is performing adequate hygienic self-care.

With pneumonia being a bacterial infection, it is important to allow seniors to stay in their homes so that they are not around those who are sick with the flu and bronchitis, as these oftentimes progress into pneumonia.

Home care companions have the senior population’s best interest in mind and knowing how dangerous pneumonia can be, it is a great idea to have a companion provide the necessary services to keep seniors’ safe and healthy- especially after a bout with pneumonia.

Reduce hospital readmission rates post-pneumonia discharge by using home health care services.