Reducing readmissions is no easy task. Studies show that 1 in 12 Canadians will be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged – that’s a lot of money and time spent that could be avoided. Patients could be readmitted for multiple reasons, ranging from poor discharge planning to a failure to comply with post-operative instructions. Fortunately, there are number of things that can be done to ensure that patients will not need to return to the emergency department after discharge.
In this post, we will be looking at three of our past blog posts that focus on keeping patients out of the hospital.
One of the most essential ways of avoiding unnecessary readmissions is probably communication. Taking the time to listen to, and really understand, the patient’s needs allows you to provide them with the appropriate instructions to recover at home. Providing specific and clear directions is key. When a patient is told explicitly what they should be doing and what medications they should be taking while at home, it allows for a lower much lower risk of complications due to non-compliance. (wording?) It is also important that patients know who to contact when they feel any discomfort or have a concern. A simple phone call, text message, or video call can offer reassurance and the opportunity to provide additional instructions – on how to avoid having to go back to the hospital or a local emergency room.
Patients with multiple chronic conditions – also known as complex patients – use three times more healthcare resources than those without any. Looking after those with multiple chronic illnesses is not only costly, but can be exhausting for their caregivers. In 2012, the government of Ontario created a delivery model called Health Links to help manage this patient population. A Health Link is a group of professional care providers within Ontario working together to create a coordinated model of care. Health Links focus on the top 5% of complex patients which encompasses those with multiple chronic conditions. The Health Links have proven it is possible to reduce hospital readmissions through optimizing care plans and using them to guide treatments.
As hospital readmissions affect government budgets and put a strain on facility resources, it’s no surprise that healthcare professionals are seeking a more cost-effective solution. The right technology can provide care providers with a platform to update each other in real-time. Enabling this easy flow of communication is essential for keeping patients out of the hospital. The patient’s care can be managed and tracked much easier when everyone involved in their care is connected.
Overall, it is clear that communication is the first step to reducing the number of patients being readmitted. Taking the time to understand what the patient and their family want is key. Using technology to connect all of the care providers on one platform can make all the difference when helping patients manage their conditions. When everyone is connected, there is less room for miscommunications and a greater opportunity to stay informed and in control. If you would like more information on this subject, any of these three blogs is a great start.
Feature image courtesy of ZipRecruiter