As a caregiver, you have probably dealt with more doctors, clinics, and hospitals than you’d care to remember. Hospital admissions may be the most stressful of these experiences, considering that your loved one almost always faces a long road ahead after being admitted.
But what we don’t often think about is the possibility of our family members being readmitted. Yet according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Care About Your Care initiative, almost 20% of Medicare patients are readmitted to the hospital less than a month after discharge. Not only does this cost our already-broken healthcare system an extra $12 billion per year – it also wreaks havoc on families, both emotionally and financially.
That’s why in 2011, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation partnered with 25 other organizations to launch the Care About Your Care campaign. Their goal is to empower providers and patients to take actions toward providing and receiving better health care. This year, the focus is on care transitions, such as the transitions that take place when patients are discharged from a hospital and sent home or to a rehabilitation center.
I encourage you to check out the Care About Your Care website. It includes:
- Information for patients, including tip sheets regarding how to avoid hospital readmissions and steps to complete prior to discharge
- Information for doctors and other providers, including a detailed report about preventing readmissions as well as continuing education opportunities
- Links to partner organizations that serve caregivers, such as the Family Caregiver Alliance and the National Alliance for Caregiving
Also, check out the free webcast being offered on Wednesday, February 13th that will feature healthcare experts and leaders discussing how to change the medical landscape in order to provide better care. Dr. Nancy Snyderman, chief medical editor for NBC News, will facilitate the event.
I applaud the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for spearheading the Care About Your Care initiative, and I hope that the cause builds momentum over time. Higher quality care – including improved hospital care and discharge planning – will do wonders in the lives of patients and the caregivers who advocate for their well-being.