First, an acknowledgement to Dr. Kent Bottles – a brilliant guy, in my view – whom you can follow on Twitter @KentBottles for pointing me to a short but very good article on how the lack of home health support is clearly linked to hospital readmissions.
The article Dr. Bottles pointed to is in Advances in Nursing Science journal, and indicates “elderly patients who lacked support in a home health setting after a hospital stay fared worse than those who had a solid support system for self-care.”
The research indicated that,
Caregivers of these patients may benefit from additional resources to help them manage the tiring physical demands of their patients,… Those patients who received environmental support from their caregivers in the form of psychosocial support, facilitating access to medical care or serving as a financial and/or health agent, tended to benefit, function at a higher level and have less potential for rehospitalization.
The critical point I would make, and I think the last quote bears it out quite clearly, is that the care being discussed as having an extremely beneficial effect on preventing hospital readmissions is not just “home health” as defined technically — services provided by RNs, and physical, speech and occupational therapists.
In this context, “home health” clearly means non-clinical caregivers (family or professional), in addition to the clinical services at home. The results – that hospital readmissions are far lower for elder patients who have caregiving support at home – are not a surprise to those of us in the elder care industry, including here at Support For Home Health Care, but we hope this study will help educate a broader populace.
Best wishes. Bert