Healthcare costs in 2017 are expected to continue to rise, even outpacing inflation and social security. The biggest concern many people have is how much unnecessary medical spending is costing them.
The steep costs affecting seniors
Preventable hospitalizations are a significant part of unnecessary medical spending.
The largest age group most negatively affected by preventable hospitalizations is seniors. According to data from the Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA), preventable hospitalizations cost Medicare $17 billion on an annual basis. For seniors living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related chronic illnesses, over 25% reported having hospital stays that could have been avoided. Compared to other seniors, they have over twice as many hospital stays and higher health costs.
Additional risks of preventable hospitalizations
Besides cost, avoidable hospital stays negatively impact the senior’s health. Seniors who are hospitalized struggle to get back into their daily routine and many spiral into further health declines.
When a trip to the hospital Emergency Department results from a fall – the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries in seniors – research shows outcomes are even more severe. After ED visits due to a fall, 50% of seniors aged 65 or older experience additional falls, hospitalization or death, within 6 months.
Proactive care management is the solution
It’s no secret that avoiding unnecessary stays in the hospital will improve the quality of life for seniors. A survey of 400 North American nurses who specialize in senior care, reported that nearly half (48.5%) of hospitalizations could be avoided with early detection and intervention.
There are preventative actions long-term care communities can take to reduce hospitalizations. Leveraging senior care technology, caregivers have the ability to continuously monitor the senior’s daily activities (ADL) and measure their health progression or deterioration. They can also be alerted if the senior’s health requires immediate attention and intervene before a more serious health risk occurs.