Caregiving Guide

We understand that taking care of a loved one can be overwhelming. Perhaps you feel alone. You are not. Vanderbilt Home Care has a community of hundreds of people who are making care decisions for their relatives or friends. We're here to support you.

Our caregiving guide contains resources to help you in your care journey.

Caregivers Help Reduce Hospitalizations

Having a healthy return home after a hospital stay creates many challenges for caregivers. With at least one in five Medicare beneficiaries readmitted to the hospital within one month of discharge and Medicares focus on cost control, transition care (the movement of care from one care setting (such as the hospital) to another (such as home) is getting plenty of attention these days.

What causes readmission? Those with multiple chronic conditions experience much higher rates of readmissions. The top reasons include: poor medication management; missed follow-up appointments; falls; and lack of education about chronic illness.

Caregivers are essential partners in successful care transitions from hospital to home and can help prevent or reduce hospitalizations. They not only provide the vast majority of personal assistance received by older adults with chronic disabilities in the United States, but also health-related care, including coordination and continuity of care during such transitions. Although family caregivers are usually the persons who will actually implement care plans following release from the hospital, they rarely are actively engaged in discharge planning. Caregivers should identify themselves in the hospital as the primary care taker and be an active participant with the identified hospital social worker or discharge case manager before a transition in care is done.

The primary caregiver caring for a chronically ill loved one knows what supports may be needed, the strengths and weaknesses of the patients care management and should therefore, accompany patients to physician visits and serve as facilitators in communication with physicians or other health related professionals. These caregivers are walking medical records in emergencies and can provide care continuity across settings. They can manage behavior problems; spot early warning signs of symptom changes and are in a critical position to help manage medication to prevent errors and interactions.

They are gatekeepers who help decide when and which professional to call, and when to seek emergency care with the right information. If the caregiver lacks information, they should seek this through reliable healthcare professionals or related resources online.

Tools can help organize this information into personal health records, which give families an easy way to manage general health information, follow-up appointments, medications and major health events; create home safety checklists; special instructions for home care and home health visits, an emergency plan and more.

These helpful tools are located at the National Center on Caregiving website: www.caregiver.org which is a program of Family Caregiver Alliance, a central source of information and technical assistance on caregiving and long-term care for caregivers; policy makers, health and service providers, media; program developers, and funders.

If you need help managing your loved one at home consider the support and services of Vanderbilt Home Health Care. We are glad to be your care partner in reducing rehospitalizations.

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