Hospital patients who receive high-quality discharge planning are less likely to be readmitted within 30 days, according to researchers who examined 2.1 million hospital patients in 16 states who were treated for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, and total hip or joint replacement.
According to the researchers, ideal discharge planning begins several days in advance, with the goal of ensuring patients understand basic questions such as where they will go after discharge, what special care and medications they may need, whether they must restrict certain foods or activities, and what symptoms to monitor.
The researchers cited the cost of readmissions, indicating that Medicare spent $17.5 billion in 2012 on hospital readmissions that occurred within 30 days of discharge.
To learn more see, Henke et al. (2016). Discharge planning and hospital readmissions. Medical Care Research and Review. [Epub ahead of print]. doi:10.1177/1077558716647652