According to a study from the journal Patient Experience, involving patients in care and offering explicit recovery instructions are important strategies reduce hospital readmissions. Readmission rates are a key indicator of hospital quality, and high readmissions are a heavy cost to health systems and other stakeholders.
This study, therefore, examined the potential associations between patient-reported aspects of communication and discharge care with unplanned readmissions up to one year of discharge. The study conducted an analysis of HCAHPS scores, particularly for questions pertaining to:
- Patient involvement in care decisions
- Patients receiving written information at discharge
- Patient understanding the purpose of taking medications
- Patients understanding their responsibility in managing their health
- Patients discussing help needed when returning home.
The study resulted in the following key findings after comparing the HCAHPS surveys and readmission rates:
- Patients who reported that they were not involved in their care during the original encounter were 34% more likely to be readmitted.
- Patients who did not report receiving written instructions at discharge were 24% more likely to be readmitted.
- Odds of readmission did not change when examining patient understanding of medication, patient responsibility in managing their care, or discussions of help needed when returning home.
While only two of the five criteria were found to have a significant difference, the results highlight the importance of patient engagement in their care. Involving the patient as a partner in care and providing written instructions for follow-up care should be incorporated into procedure to help reduce hospital readmissions. And by reducing readmissions, all stakeholders, from patients to health system staff, will benefit tremendously.
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