I recently listened to a radio segment on how to reduce hospital readmissions. It’s been on my mind a lot lately, especially because soon SNFs will be penalized if rehospitalization occurs within 30 days. Many in the industry are planning for what they should do.
The segment reported that 60-80% of all readmissions in their study were found to be unnecessary transfers for diagnoses that could be prevented by early identification. Additionally, the stress that comes with transferring a patient can lead to further complications that could have otherwise been avoided.
Here are three of my strategies that I think can help you and your team:
Invest in your staff
Many reports turn to this as the number one way of reducing readmissions. And there are a lot of resources that can offer your staff additional support and training to ease patient’s transitions. Project BOOST provides onsite mentoring and training along with on-demand webinars, and INTERACT is a program that focuses specifically on the management of acute changes in resident conditions.
Don’t try to prevent ALL hospital readmissions
The reason why 60% of all readmissions are found to be unnecessary transfers goes right back to your staff. I love this example from the New England Journal of Medicine, which essentially says that a nurse familiar with her patient will be able to monitor the acute changes in their clinical condition without having to move into a hospital. That said, some things can only be safely cared for in a hospital.
Don’t reduce the length of stay
It’s no secret that hospital stays are expensive and many are pressured to discharge patients quickly to reduce costs. But this is part of the problem! Your nurses will need to navigate this battle with insurance companies and family members. Just keep in mind that reducing a hospital stay too quickly is far pricier in the long run. It’s a simple strategy but one that works.
Hospital readmission is costly for us in many ways, and certainly for our patient. However, following these strategies will open an entirely new level of care for your home.