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Pay attention when someone you love leaves the hospital

Written by Diane Archer

It’s not something most of us would instinctively believe, but hospitals can be dangerous places and leaving the hospital can be equally or more dangerous. According to the U.S. Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, AHRQ, almost one out of five patients who leave the hospital end up experiencing some harmful effect within 21 days. Yet, most of these events are preventable.  So, pay attention when someone you love leaves the hospital.

Here’s Just Care’s checklist of seven things to do before you or someone you love leaves the hospital.

What are the worst things that can happen to a patient upon hospital discharge? The AHRQ’s Patient Safety Network reports that the most serious complication comes from a bad reaction to a new prescription or medical regimen.  But, people also often pick up infections from antibiotic resistant bacteria in the hospital. And, some suffer procedural complications. Still others leave the hospital without lab results or with a need for follow-up tests, but do not follow through in a timely way or as warranted.

The risks upon hospital discharge in part stem from a lack of care coordination between the in-hospital doctors and the patients’ primary care doctors and specialists. In addition, there are usually an overwhelming array of directives on discharge from the hospital. Without a “health care buddy,” someone whom you trust at your side as an extra pair of eyes and ears, who can ask questions on your behalf and make sure everything is in order for a safe transfer out of the hospital, there is a high likelihood of mixup.

Keep in mind that it also can be extremely hard for a health care buddy or family member who is not a professional to appreciate the patients’ full range of care needs and how well patients can care for themselves once out of the hospital. Not surprisingly, one in five Medicare patients are rehospitalized in the 30 days after they are discharged.

Here’s more from Just Care:

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