By: Thomas Franks, Director
It is an indisputable fact that unnecessary hospital readmissions are a drain on hospital resources, time and money. These readmissions result in billions of dollars being wasted. Each year, nearly 20 percent of Medicare beneficiaries are readmitted to hospitals within 30 days of discharge and account for $17.5 billion in additional costs for CMS – and the readmission rate penalties to hospitals are rising.When patients are hospitalized, they rely upon the nurse call button to request immediate assistance. Once they go home, however, that simple support mechanism is gone…until now!
MedPAC’s report to Congress suggests there is substantial room to improve, and upon closer inspection, over 75% of thirty-day “all cause” readmissions are deemed preventable. Chronic conditions including Congestive Heart Failure, COPD, Diabetes among others are all major contributors to unnecessary readmissions. Many such conditions exhibit early warning signs that, if reported promptly by the patient and addressed immediately by their healthcare provider, can easily prevent a readmission.
Proactive healthcare providers needing to reduce patient readmissions are providing their patients with the ability to directly call their visiting nurse, homecare provider or primary caregiver. Patients are using the SafeGuardian CareCaller™ to ask medical questions, request assistance relating to their condition(s) or discuss a worsening condition.
In most cases, a simple call using the CareCaller™ can prevent a call to 911. Homecare nurses can be alerted to problems - and provide solutions - before the patient condition worsens and causes a dispatch to local paramedics or ambulance.
“Studies are clearly showing that nurse/patient communication before, during and following discharge must be an integral component to significantly reduce unnecessary readmissions.” states T. Clayton Franks, Healthcare Director with SafeGuardian. “Giving patients an inexpensive home nurse call button can save tens of thousands of dollars caused by a needless readmission”
For hospice patients, this is especially important. Hospice typically requires patients to contact their 24-hour hospice center if they are in distress. Yet, family members who are watching loved-ones in distress routinely call paramedics resulting in unnecessary transport to a local hospital or emergency room.
The feature that sets the CareCaller™ apart from every other medical alarm system is that it sends a personalized text alert and then calls up to three user-programmable contacts when the SOS button is pressed. This typically includes the primary/secondary healthcare provider(s), a 24/7 nurse help line and even family members. Once activated, the wearer can speak with the contact using the built-in two-way speakerphone. Caregivers can even call the wearer directly to insure they are all right.
Caregivers who have smartphones will receive an urgent text that even provides precise GPS location and a link to a Google map. Caregivers can also quickly and easily send a simple text message to the CareCaller™ and receive its current location – making it perfect for wandering Alzheimer’s & dementia patients.
The advanced CareCaller™ FallAlert model can detect and notify caregivers of a possible fall. “This is important because many seniors do not tell their family of routine falls because they do not want to raise doubts about remaining at home.” continues Franks. “CDC statistics prove that immediate response to a fall greatly increases the likelihood of a senior returning home.”
The CareCaller™ is perfect for hospitals, medical centers, home health organizations and mitigating medical costs agencies who are ultimately responsible for critical readmission rates and potential penalties from CMS. SafeGuardian offers custom healthcare models, private label packaging, bulk purchasing, and discounted service plans for all sizes of professional healthcare providers. Contact SafeGuardian’s healthcare specialists to REQUEST A FREE DEMO CARECALLER be sent to you for evaluation.