Posts Tagged ‘medication’

Infographic: Technology Poised to Change Future of Nursing

April 4th, 2014 by Jackie Lyons

Healthcare reform is not the only change that will affect the nursing profession, evolving technology is likely to alter the future of nursing as well.

Among emerging healthcare technologies is barcode medication administration, which allows medications to be scanned before being administered. This enables nurses to check that the medication is correct, for the right patient and in the right dosage, according to a new infographic from Norwich University Online.

This infographic outlines other technologies that will change the nursing industry in years ahead, as well as how healthcare reform and education will affect the nursing profession.

Looking for other ways to increase medication adherence? You may also be interested in 2013 Healthcare Benchmarks: Improving Medication Adherence. This 56-page resource provides actionable information from more than 100 healthcare organizations on efforts to improve medication adherence and compliance in their populations.

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5 Tips for Seniors to Avoid Hospital Readmissions

June 24th, 2013 by Jessica Fornarotto

Nearly one in five seniors who are hospitalized return to the hospital within 30 days, according to a recent Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report. These readmissions are not only often physically and mentally debilitating to the seniors and their families, but contribute greatly to avoidable and unnecessary expenses on the nation’s healthcare system. To help curb these numbers, SCAN Health Plan recently offered seniors five strategies to lessen the chance of readmission.

  1. Ask questions before discharge. When patients are in the hospital, they’re completely dependent on others for care. But once they’re home, they’re in charge of their own recovery, which makes understanding what to do the key. Patients being discharged from the hospital who ask questions and who have a clear understanding of their after-hospital care instruction are 30 percent less likely to be readmitted or to visit the ED than patients who lack this information, according to a recent study from the AHRQ.
  2. Understand medications. This is particularly important if there have been changes to a medication regimen while in the hospital. Upon discharge, dosages are sometimes changed or a drug is discontinued or added. Patients need to be sure about this and to write it down. They also need to be sure to fill all new prescriptions once they’re home.
  3. Make a plan for follow-up care. Patients need to know when to schedule a follow-up visit to their doctor, and to make sure that they have the transportation to get there. Even if they’re feeling good, they should go anyway. The doctor needs to see a patient in order to track how they’re doing and to gauge whether the treatment plan is working. In addition to doctors, does the patient need to schedule home healthcare with a nurse or therapist, or do they have some new durable medical equipment or home-modification needs?
  4. Communicate with care coordinators. Whether a patient has a professional in-home caregiver, a family member nearby, or resides in an assisted-living community, they need to make sure that their caregiver is up to date on the recent hospitalization and how the patient is feeling. This also goes for the patient communicating with their health plan, as many have programs and professionals in place that can assist with care coordination.
  5. Be aware of “red flags” or complications that should be reported. What is considered “normal” for a patient’s post-hospital condition? What degree of pain or swelling is expected? Patients need to know what to look for, whom to call if they are not feeling well, and to have a clear plan of action in place so they know how to respond to a complication.

Romilla Batra, M.D., vice president and medical director of SCAN, says that readmission rates for seniors can also be reduced by enrolling in a health plan that has a strong emphasis on integrated care and care management. She points to a 2012 study released by Avalere Health that compared 30-day all-cause hospital readmission rates between California dual-eligible (Medicare and Medi-Cal) individuals in traditional Medicare versus those enrolled in SCAN Health Plan. The independent study found that SCAN’s dual-eligible members had a hospital readmission rate that was 25 percent lower than those in fee-for-service.

“Industry-wide efforts are underway to bring down readmission rates including new rules passed as part of the Affordable Care Act that charge additional fees to hospitals with excessive readmissions,” said Dr. Batra. “But ultimately it is still the consumer themselves who can play the biggest role through common sense and following these five easy steps.”