Results of a study released today prove what you probably have experienced first-hand: Patients discharged from the hospital often return to the hospital simply because they (and their family caregivers) arrive home ill-prepared to manage treatments and care.
Key findings of the study show:
- Almost one fifth (19.6%) of the 11,855,702 Medicare beneficiaries who had been discharged from a hospital were rehospitalized within 30 days, and 34.0% were rehospitalized within 90 days;
- 67.1% of patients who had been discharged with medical conditions and 51.5% of those who had been discharged after surgical procedures were rehospitalized or died within the first year after discharge;
- In the case of 50.2% of the patients who were rehospitalized within 30 days after a medical discharge to the community, there was no bill for a visit to a physician’s office between the time of discharge and rehospitalization;
- Among patients who were rehospitalized within 30 days after a surgical discharge, 70.5% were rehospitalized for a medical condition
- Study researchers estimate that the cost to Medicare of unplanned rehospitalizations in 2004 was $17.4 billion.
Researchers offer the following recommendations for hospital staff to avoid re-hospitalizations:
- Make a doctor’s appointment for departing patients;
- Provide patients a list of all their medications, explain what to do at home and where to call if they run into problems;
- Call the patient within two days after the discharge to home;
- Make sure that the patient’s doctor knows they were in the hospital.
As a family caregiver, you know first-hard the upheaval that can be a hospital discharge. Too little notice, too little time, too little training, too few instructions.
What’s your hospital discharge horror story?