Health systems everywhere are searching for ways for reducing the high costs of hospital readmissions. In this age of value-based reimbursement, the costs are just too high. Consider this: patient readmission to hospitals within 30 days of discharge costs $41.3 billion annually.1 It costs Medicare alone $26 billion in readmissions, with $17 billion considered avoidable!2
Here are some effective ways to reduce hospital readmissions and take control of these high costs.
Understand hospital readmission risks
The time to think about reducing readmissions is before a patient is even discharged.
Many avoidable hospital readmission risks never show up on a patient’s chart. They include such “non-medical” factors such as housing instability, food insecurity, and transportation challenges. Understanding and lessening these risk factors alone can have a major impact on reducing costly hospital readmissions.
Reduce readmissions by communicating
One can't overstate the importance of communication in reducing hospital readmissions. All concerned parties should be involved — the physician, the patient, the family, or the staff at an assisted living or nursing facility.
One way to assure clear communication is to take full advantage of technology to coordinate and communicate between medical professionals. Another is to use teach-back techniques to be sure the patient and/or caregivers know precisely what to do. All medications, of course, should be reviewed face to face.
Have skill on the receiving end
In many cases, the very act of transitioning a patient from hospital to home can plant the seeds for readmission. Having a skilled, well-trained, home health professional on the receiving end can make the transition more seamless, less stressful and less likely to result in a costly hospital readmission.
Depending on a discharged patient’s condition, follow-up care can be as simple or as complex as necessary. It may just be a quick visit to make sure meds are being taken properly Or it may require a full-time home health aide. Here, quality home health care services can make a dramatic difference in avoiding hospital readmission. A well-trained home health aide can often catch a problem early and get appropriate help long before a hospital readmission becomes necessary.
Enhanced training helps avoid readmission
Since many hospital readmissions come from skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, they are excellent places on which to focus readmission reduction efforts. Training programs that help clinical staff identify and address early changes in a resident’s health and mental/functional status have proven successful.
These facilities could also do a lot to head off any need for hospital readmission. For example, they could have physicians, nurse practitioners or physician’s assistants on-site to perform immediate assessment of acute changes in clinical status.
Advanced directives avoid unnecessary readmissions
Most people don’t want to die in a hospital. That’s why it’s critical to know what a patient wants at the end of life. Hospice or palliative care can offer a more dignified and comfortable alternative to spending their final months being shuttled back and forth between home and hospital.
Advanced directives should be documented and on file so the clinical staff and physicians can know the patient’s wishes.
BAYADA can help with your readmission reduction program
Since 1975, BAYADA has been the go-to partner for many health systems, hospitals and senior facilities concerned about preventing unnecessary hospital readmissions. Our wide range of skilled practitioners have provided expert, loving home health care for more than a million people.
To learn more about how BAYADA can help avoid the high cost of hospital readmissions while at the same time doing what’s best for your patients, contact us anytime 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 888-876-0111.