Have you or a family member ever been admitted to the hospital? Did you know what to expect after hospital discharge?
Patients discharged from the hospital don't want to be re-admitted but unfortunately that is exactly what happens for some.
Research shows the major causes for re-admission include uncertainty about medications or simply not taking medications as prescribed; failure to follow up with the primary care physician within 7 to 10 days after discharge; and a lack of understanding about the disease process.
Patients often are uncertain who they can ask for help. The role of a hospital case manager includes helping patients understand what to expect once they are home. Questions such as, "When should I call my doctor rather than go to the emergency room?" or "What should I do if I can't afford my medicines?" may be addressed before discharge.
The case manager can offer alternative means of care to patients who need additional help once they leave the hospital or for those who require long-term care.
These professional nurses and social workers also ensure that equipment, home care, oxygen or other items or services are in place before the patient leaves the hospital.
During the hospital stay, it is important for patients and family members to communicate with the case manager.
According to the Case Management Society of America, there is increasing evidence that use of case management leads to improvements in health care delivery. Ask questions, inform staff of your concerns, and make requests to see your case manager. Those actions may prevent re-admittance to the hospital.