Little known fact: 20–30% of all patients end up back in the hospital within a month. Often, it’s because they don’t get their prescriptions filled or get to their follow-up doctor appointments. Sometimes patients ignore signs of health problems after a hospital stay, hoping they’ll just “go away” or they don’t want to be a “bother”.

Yet another fact: a study at Yale revealed that 3 out of 4 older discharged patients leave the hospital with the wrong prescription, or they don’t fully understand their new medication regimen. Also worrisome is the fact that they don’t understand what to do about the old prescriptions waiting for them at home. Frankly, medication management is a complicated mess for most patients! They need your help to keep them all straight — and to take them all safely.

Use a shared calendar system (like Google’s) to organize friends and family to:

  • Make sure your loved one gets to follow-up doctor visits (critical!)
  • Have prescriptions filled
  • Make sure that someone else (besides your loved one) knows about all meds and is working with your loved one to ensure they are taken properly
  • Follow up on any tests and their results
  • Checks in with your loved one every day for at least a month to watch for signs of problems

And if you sense anything is wrong, trust your gut and get your loved one in to see their main doctor right away — before it may turn into an emergency trip back to the hospital. No one wants that kind of travel!