Preventing Hospitalizations and Readmissions
Let’s be honest: no one enjoys getting sick or going to the hospital. Whether you’re there for a medical emergency, scheduled procedure or worried about a loved one, a hospitalizations can be overwhelming and stressful.
As a part of your health plan, you may want to develop a strategy to avoid a hospitalization or a re-admission. Below are some helpful tips to consider:
Know your condition
Health conditions can be confusing. It is important to speak to your doctor and get regular check up’s in order to take control over your health. Ask your doctor for more information regarding you medical condition and how to avoid potential risks.
The CDC recommends adults with chronic health conditions like kidney disease, heart disease and diabetes get vaccinations as a part of staying healthy. People with these health conditions are more likely to be sicker if they have certain illnesses.
Stay organized and be prepared
Having all the information regarding your health is key, however we sometimes get so much information we may forget all the details. Starting a notebook may be helpful. Bring the notebook to your doctor visits and keep a list of all your medications, names of your doctors, notes you may have taken during doctor visits and bloodwork results. This is also a good place to write down questions you may have later on. Having all this information in one place can help manage the important information regarding your health.
Manage your diet and fluids
Some medical conditions such as kidney disease, diabetes and heart disease require a special diet. Sticking to a prescribed diet may help prevent complications and possibly prevent further illness. Patients with diabetes and kidney disease will find it important to monitor their blood sugar to prevent their kidneys from working harder.
When drinking fluid, it spreads throughout the body. When the kidneys aren’t working well, fluids add up, putting extra pressure on all your organs including your heart. Tracking how much fluid you drink may be helpful if you need to limit fluids.
If you have issues with poor appetite, stomach problems or anything that prevents you from eating talk to your doctor or dietitian. They may suggest a nutrition supplement or provide information on how to deal with problems like nausea, fullness and diarrhea.
Attend your dialysis treatments
If you are on dialysis, it is important to go to all your dialysis treatments. Normal kidneys function 24 hours a day, seven days a week, whereas hemodialysis treatment is only 12 to 16 hours a week. According to a study on in-center hemodialysis patients, missing just one treatment may increase the risk of hospitalizations by 41%, and double a patient’s risk of death. (1)
Not all hospitalizations are preventable. If you or a loved one does get admitted into the hospital below are a few tips to help prevent a re-admission.
There are a few things to do before you leave the hospital:
Ask for your instructions
The hospital will provide you discharge instructions on what treatment and procedures you received in the hospital and why. Along with a list of any new medical conditions and information regarding these conditions. Special instructions on your diet may also be included. Keep this information handy, like in the notebook we discussed above, so you can review it regularly.
Review your medicines
Get a list of all the medicines and instructions on how to take them when you get home. Note dose changes and any new medications and prescriptions to be filled.
Schedule your follow-ups
Find out what appointments the hospital team would like you to have and schedule them before you leave. It will also be important to see your primary care provider and specialists shortly after your discharge. If you are on in-center hemodialysis, bring a copy of your medications and your records to the dialysis team at your first treatment back to the clinic.
Remember it is always important to ask for help when you need it, and take charge of your health!
- Missed Treatments: Causes and Effects, DaVita Clinical Research, May 25, 2016; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5447693/
Additional Kidney Diet Resources
Visit DaVita.com and explore these diet and nutrition resources:
This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult your physician and dietitian regarding your specific diagnosis, treatment, diet and health questions.