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Readmissions Not Linked to Quality Care for Patients

No patient wants to be readmitted to the hospital and no nurse wants to see a patient ill enough to return. However, many readmissions are out of the control of the hospital staff. Being in a registered nursing school is an important step to gaining knowledge to pass on to patients on preventative health and self-care.

Pauline Tam, reporter for the Ottawa Citizen, writes about an interesting study “published Monday in the latest issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, [which] comes amid an international debate over how to reduce the rate of hospital readmissions as a way to curb the explosive rise in health-care costs.”

Granted, this is a Canadian study, but much of the same concerns were addressed that we face in the United States. With the current economic decline impacting industries internationally, many hospitals and health care institutions have been analyzing ways to cut budget costs and readmissions seem to be a big part of the expenditures.

Many experts have argued that preventative care could have eliminated a large majority of patient readmissions. Hospital cleanliness which leads to lower infection rates, lower nurse to patient ratios and longer time spent in the hospital for recovery time have been looked into. However, this study shows that this way of thinking isn’t necessarily true. “The study, based on a detailed analysis of more than 4,800 patient records, found that fewer than one in five return visits (16 per cent) are actually considered avoidable, meaning they could have been prevented if the medical care provided had been less fragmented.”

“Previous studies have estimated that up to eight out of 10 return hospital visits could be prevented, but those results were based on superficial reviews of patient records, which are less reliable, said Dr. Carl van Walraven, the study’s lead author,” explains Tam.

“’Not all urgent readmissions are avoidable, despite the care that is provided,’ said van Walraven, a clinical epidemiologist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. ‘This means that a lot of them are caused by a patient’s condition, or other factors that are not treatable or modifiable.’”

As a graduate from a registered nursing school, it’s important to give patients the best care possible to avoid readmissions. Equipping the patient with knowledge on how to recuperate and stay healthy are vital to a full recovery, but much of the time readmissions are just plain unavoidable.