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Reducing Rehospitalizations

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Reducing Rehospitalizations
Elizabeth A Goebel
Drexel University

Reducing Rehospitalizations
Change has become a major buzz word in nursing; everything is changing on a daily basis. If it isn’t the evolution in technology, changes in the reimbursement process, it is introducing new initiatives to reduce rehospitalizations and ultimately improve patient outcomes. Hospitals are under tremendous pressure to reduce their avoidable rehospitalization rates. In October 2012, hospitals started being penalized for having higher readmission rates. Jenks estimates that readmissions within thirty days of discharge cost Medicare more than seventeen billion dollars annually (Jenks, Williams, and Coleman, 2009). There is no doubt that readmissions following a hospitalization are very costly. This issue is critical in nursing today because skyrocketing costs can affect salaries and poor outcomes can be blamed on poor care. The quest for better outcomes proves to be a collaborative effort between hospitals, physicians, case managers, therapists, social workers and caregivers.
In May of 2008 St Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Iowa implemented a transitions in care program. They understood that the hand off from hospital to home was not working effectively. They focused on being sure that the patient as well as the care givers understood the patients diagnosis, plan of care and plan for follow up care with their doctors. They used the “teach back” method, by having the patients teach the nurses it allowed them to verbalize what they know and engage them in their own learning. The focus was on their heart failure patients and their readmission rate started at twelve percent. After education and discharging to home care, who was able to reinforce and continue to reteach and assist patients to monitor for symptoms and change unhealthy behaviors if willing, their…...

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