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Avoiding a hospital readmission continued from page 1
Making the most of your food dollar continued from page 1
found hospitals linked to quality care with a lower number of readmissions. Before you find yourself on the way
to a hospital, you might check out hospitals near you at search.html or www.hospitalsafety Whenever possible, voice which hospital you want to go to based on what you learn from these sites.
An advocate helps
An extra set of eyes and ears to keep watch on your care and make notes about medications, directions, etc. may be of real benefit in helping you avoid another hospital stay. An advocate can be a family member
or friend, or you can hire a medical professional with experience in geriatric care or a patient advocacy. This expert can assess and record your care, communicate with hospital staff on your behalf, guide you through transitions, help build a team of caregivers, assist in planning ahead to save money and avoid costly mistakes, and ensure your doctor’s orders are understood and followed. Though the cost is not covered by Medicare or private insurance, and can range from $60-$200/hour (and may include a retainer fee), this investment may help smooth out your stay and add level of protection for a speedy recovery.
What else can you do?
The final element that’s important to help avoid hospital readmission is to take time to get well. Exercise, rest, and eat healthfully. Also, check out the AAA 1-B wellness classes that are offered at no cost. These classes, on topics like Diabetes Management or Chronic Pain Management, can help support you with health goals. See what classes are being taught in your area at and look under "Senior Health and Wellness.
“Observation” vs. “Admitted”
If you are in the ER and are told the doctor wants to keep you in the hospital, make sure you understand whether you are being admitted or being kept in the hospital as an outpatient under observation. You may pay more out of pocket if kept under observation. If you’re under observation, a Medicare Outpatient Observation Notice (MOON) Document must be given to you. It will let you know your status and how that may affect costs.
Strategy #3: Make a plan for meals and shopping and stick to it
Go through your kitchen and take an inventory of what you have. Use items close to the expiration date first. You can add leftover meats to a salad or soup. You can freeze soup but be sure to label it. “I keep a permanent marker handy to write “EAT BY (DATE)” and pop it in the freezer. Then when I’m planning, I think of innovative ways to use these items in my next meal,” said Karen. “You can dice or mash ripe fruit and stir into hot or cold breakfast cereal or blend with your favorite vegetables and added water, juice and ice for a delicious smoothie at half the price of a bottled product. Got over ripe apples? No problem. Dice, sauté, and add a little water to make a topping for waffles, pancakes or use as a side dish for meats, or strudel over dessert with cinnamon as chunky applesauce.” For more ideas, check out older-adults.
After creating your shopping list, search for coupons at;; and Eat before you shop so you’re less likely to make
purchases not on your list. In store, check out store specials and seasonal produce against what’s on your list.
Strategy #4: See if you qualify for Senior Project FRESH/Market FRESH
Participants receive free nutritional counseling and $20 in vouchers to use at participating Michigan farmers markets toward any Michigan-grown, non-processed product. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the program was created to benefit farmers and seniors. You use the vouchers in lieu of cash to obtain Michigan-grown fruits, vegetables, spices or honey. To take advantage of this program you must be age 60+, have a total house- hold income of $21,775 or less for an individual ($29,471 for a couple), and live in the county where coupons are issued. The program runs from May 1 to October 31 annually. For information, call (517) 373-8230 or visit,4635, 7-234-64083_43343---,00.html to find a participating market near you.
Karen said, “Try these strategies for a few weeks, and your pocket will have a few more dollars while eating fresh, healthy meals.“
Want more tips? Check out “Rules of refrigeration” on the back page.

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