Five Ways to Prevent Hospital Readmission
For health care providers, ensuring the health and safety of each patient after a hospital stay is a challenging priority with many factors at stake. Not only are hospitals at risk for financial penalties for excessive readmission rates, but a patient’s health suffers from a relapse in symptoms, placing their lives in a critical state. Collaborating with patients following a hospital stay is paramount to the overall wellness and long-term success for both patients and providers. Here are five strategies that health care providers can employ to prevent hospital readmission.
- Patient education. Making sure that patients and their caregivers understand the care plan following a hospital stay is frequently cited as an effective method for preventing a relapse. Health care providers can do this by explaining the care plan to patients and caregivers before discharge. Written instructions that patients can take home and use as a reference can also serve as a reminder and provide clarity. In addition to educating patients of the steps for at-home care, inform them of available resources that they can use to support their needs.
- Medication adherence. Piggybacking on the importance of patient education, ensure patients understand their medication schedule and are prepared to follow it as prescribed. Often, patients and caregivers struggle with taking their medications properly, especially when taking multiple prescriptions at a time. Failing to follow the medication schedule can result in serious health complications and can derail their recovery. Services, like MedBox, employ pharmacists and technology to accurately sort prescription medication into individual packets labeled with the date and time. Patients who take advantage of these types of services have been able to alleviate the challenges associated with complicated medication schedules.
- Prompt follow-up appointments. Whether an in-person appointment or follow-up phone call, checking in with patients within seven days from their discharge can make a significant impact on the success of their recovery. Health care providers can use this opportunity to ensure that patients are following the in-home care instructions and help navigate any challenges a patient may be experiencing.
- Encourage questions. Approaching health care with empathy and two-way conversations can help lead to more positive outcomes. Often, patients are drilled down with instructions without the opportunity to share any questions or concerns. Opening up a dialogue allows patients and caregivers to take a higher level of ownership in their health care and can help develop trust.
- Treat all conditions. Although one medical condition may have contributed to a patient’s hospital admission, they could also be struggling with several other health issues. When creating an at-home care plan, take into consideration any other symptoms they may need to manage alongside the reason for the recent hospitalization. Incorporate treatment plans for these additional conditions to prevent future hospitalizations.
By taking a proactive approach, providers can significantly reduce hospital readmissions and improve patient care.