According to various literature, the quality of discharge planning can affect the likelihood of readmission. As hospitals search for ways to reduce their readmission rates one of the components to review might be the quality of discharge planning. A recently published study found that not only did higher quality discharge planning result in reduced readmission rates, but it also helped hospital retention rates for those patients that did need readmission. Retention of patients is important not only to maintain continuity of care but also for financial reasons. To read more on the study click here: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1077558716647652
So what does quality discharge planning entail? Another recent study showed that quality discharge planning not only effectively informs patients about their discharge plan, but includes ways in which patients will carry out the plan and have the ability and willingness to execute it. In order for patients to become more actively involved in their discharge plans, hospitals should work in conjunction with their outpatient clinics and utilize many of the available community resources they may have. To read more on this study click here: http://qualitysafety.bmj.com/content/26/1/7.full
Two facilities that have incorporated liaising with outside agencies for quality discharge planning and to ultimately reduce readmissions are: The University of Virginia Health System and Christian Hospital in St Louis.
The University of Virginia (UVA) Health System has developed their Hospital to Home program to focus on the two-week time period after discharge. On the morning of discharge, the members of the entire patient care team meet with the patient thus incorporating all aspects of the patient’s care in to the discharge plan. To also help reduce confusion over the discharge plan, UVA Health System provides the patient with an easily understood discharge summary; one that contains no uncertainty or dubious information. This discharge summary is reviewed not only with the patient but with a family member as well. For heart failure patients, a one-hour long appointment at an in-hospital clinic is scheduled between four and seven days after discharge. During this appointment, a nurse practitioner reviews medication and diet. For more on UVA click here: http://www.hhnmag.com/articles/8327-case-study-post-discharge-planning-cuts-readmissions-at-uva
On another note, Christian Hospital in St Louis worked with 911 dispatchers and paramedics to reduce the utilization of their emergency department through the Community Health Access Program (CHAP). To help provide patients with the appropriate support they need, Christian Hospital set up access centers with coordinators who develop relationships with patients and are able to help procure resources. The development of CHAP has helped reduce overcrowding in the emergency department, reduce utilization of ambulances and paramedics and improve the quality of life for many in the community. For more on the CHAP program click here: https://www.christianhospital.org/Community/CHAP
Interested in learning more about Hospital to Home programs? Click here: https://cvquality.acc.org/initiatives/hospital-to-home