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Could Post-Discharge Clinics Reduce Patient Readmissions?

Patient readmissions seems to be a hot topic in the medical world. (Ironically, this is the one business that doesn’t want customers to return quickly!) The numbers vary by hospital and region and the causes can range from patient self-care to what caused the patient to end up at the hospital in the first place. To solve this continuing problem, several hospitals are implementing post-discharge clinics to help patients successfully transition from hospital care to home. Could this be a new option of employment for students in a nursing college?

According to FierceHealthCare.com reporter Alicia Caramenico, “One-third of adults don’t see a physician within 30 days of discharge, according to study by the Center for Studying Health System Change. What’s more, about 8.2 percent of adult patients returned to the hospital after 30 days, while 32.9 percent came back within a year of discharge, according to a press release yesterday. The study points to a lack of follow-up care as a source of avoidable hospital readmissions.”

Health Care Finance News posted a study on readmissions and found that there was, “a substantial association between regional rates of rehospitalization and overall admission rates,” the researchers concluded. “Although most interventions designed to reduce readmissions thus far have focused on better disease management and the coordination of care, our results underscore the importance of policy efforts directed at reducing the general incentives to use hospital services.”

Due to high numbers of readmissions and patients not fully following their physician’s instructions, many hospitals are trying out post discharge clinics. Caramenico reports that advanced practice nurses run these clinics and clearly explain discharge instructions and medication usage.

“We do medication reconciliation, reassessments, and follow-ups with lab tests,” said Dr. Shay Martinez, medical director and hospitalist at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. “We also try to assess who is more likely to be a no-show and who needs more help with scheduling follow-up appointments.”

“Harborview Medical Center’s post-discharge clinic limits patients to three visits, then shifts their care to a medical home. Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center gives patients a 40-minute post-discharge clinic visit or 30 minutes if they came from the hospital’s emergency room (ER) and need follow-up care,” explains Caramenico. Furthermore, these clinics identify patients who need additional help by looking at their electronic records and look into their social environment and non-medical issues that could prevent a full recovery.

The medical field is ever changing and the opportunities for nurses with an ADN degree are increasing.

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit:
http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/story/hospitals-use-post-discharge-clinics-cut-readmissions/2011-12-09?utm_medium=nl&utm_source=internal and http://www.healthcarefinancenews.com/news/nejm-hospital-readmission-rate-tied-closely-overall-hospital-admissions