The U.S. health care system suffers from a chronic malady—the revolving door syndrome at its hospitals. It is so bad that the federal government says one in five elderly patients is back in the hospital within 30 days of leaving.
Some return trips are predictable elements of a treatment plan. Others are unplanned but difficult to prevent: patients go home, new and unexpected problems arise, and they require an immediate trip back to the hospital. But many of these readmissions can and should be prevented. They are the result of a fragmented system of care that too often leaves discharged patients to their own devices, unable to follow instructions they didn’t understand, and not taking medications or getting the necessary follow-up care. The federal government has pegged the cost of readmissions for Medicare patients alone at $26 billion annually, and says more than $17 billion of it pays for return trips that need not happen if patients get the right care. This is one reason the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has identified avoidable readmissions as one of the leading problems facing the U.S. health care system and now penalizes hospitals with high rates of readmissions for their heart failure, heart attack, and pneumonia patients.
There's more than one path to reducing avoidable readmissions. In communities across the country, doctors, nurses, hospitals, care facilities, and community organizations are working with patients to stop the revolving door of avoidable readmissions for good.
Finding Solutions Together
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation sponsored the Transitions to Better Care video contest where nurses, care coordinators, physicians and other front-line care team members to shared videos highlighting how they've ensured patients transitioning from the hospital to the home are given and understand comprehensive instructions, and are provided the necessary support and resources to help ensure they remain on a path to wellness. Learn more about their approaches
This toolkit contains resources to help providers reduce avoidable hospital readmissions by planning for the transition during the inpatient stay, educating the patient on what he/she needs to do after discharge, and helping the patient stay on-track with post care coordination and support. Download the resources