Date: February 21, 2023

Author: Griswold Home Care


Keep Your Loved One from a Return Trip to the Hospital

Keep Your Loved One from a Return Trip to the Hospital – Here’s How:

Did you know that nearly one in five people 65 and older return to the hospital within 30 days of discharge from their initial hospital stay? Why? While there are a variety of reasons, understanding and following post-discharge instructions is one of the most critical factors. Some studies show that as much as 80% of discharge information is forgotten immediately. And of what is remembered, up to ½ of that may be incorrect. One readmission can easily lead to another readmission – the more you go to the hospital… the more you go to the hospital! At Griswold Home Care, our caregivers, nurses and staff are trained to provide very specific post-discharge care, depending on the client’s health conditions.

There are a number of common things you can do to avoid a readmission:

  • Thoroughly read, understand and annotate post-discharge instructions
  • Have your loved one’s pre-hospitalization medication regimen available to show the doctor upon discharge so that it can be reconciled with any new medications. Medication issues are the number one cause of return trips to the hospital!
  • Schedule a visit to your loved one’s primary care physician within one week of discharge. It’s critical to the continuity of care from your primary care physician.
  • Understand the “red flag” indicators associated with your loved one’s diagnoses.
  • Establish a visible, outcome-based plan of care in conjunction with all health care stakeholders.

Diagnosis-specific Discharge Considerations

The leading diagnosis for hospital readmissions is congestive heart failure, with nearly one in four patients readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge. Following close behind is heart attack, pneumonia and COPD. Beyond the common steps, there are diagnosis-specific steps that can be taken that will help keep your loved one out of the hospital. Here are a few tips for each of these diagnoses:

Congestive Heart Failure

  • Monitor fluid intake/expulsions.
  • Track weight at the same time each day – ideally in the morning before breakfast. Fluctuations of more than 3% should be immediately reported to your primary care physician.
  • Monitor legs, feet and/or ankles for swelling.
  • Take medications on time, at every prescribed time.
  • Watch for shortness of breath or difficulty lying down

Myocardial Infarction (heart attack)

  • Walk daily, if able
  • Get at least 7 hours sleep each night
  • Encourage frequent rest
  • Ensure proper nutrition – smaller, more frequent meals
  • Limit caffeine
  • Take medications on time, at every prescribed time
  • Watch for chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, weak or fast pulse, clammy skin or irregular heartbeat.


  • Keep home free of dust or smoke
  • Encourage fluids
  • Avoid very not or very cold food or drink to keep from coughing
  • Avoid dairy products, as they may increase production of sputum
  • Encourage physical activity such as walking to improve breathing depth and capacity
  • Maintain a balanced schedule of activity and rest
  • Encourage small, frequent high calorie, high protein meals


  • Get plenty of rest
  • Eat nutritious meals regularly
  • Move, walk and say active
  • Keep patient upright or turn frequently
  • Do your breathing exercises, as recommended by your doctor
  • Rinse mouth frequently
  • Encourage fluids unless contraindicated

Griswold Home Care for Atlanta can help ensure your loved one has the best possible chance of remaining at home after a hospital discharge. Our caregivers will help implement the care plan designed by our nurses to achieve the desired outcomes from the hospital discharge plan. They will also remind the family to reconcile the medications with either the primary care physician or a pharmacist. Our staff will also have knowledge of your loved one’s critical diagnoses, and help monitor for “red flags”. An early action can often save a hospital readmission! For more information on how Griswold Home Care for Atlanta can help your loved one quickly transition back to the home environment from the hospital, call us today at 404.567.5208.

Date: February 21, 2023