Hospital Re-admission Rates: The Lower the Better
An emerging issue that is quickly becoming one of the largest challenges for hospitals is how they can avoid patients being readmitted into the hospital repeatedly. With the implement of the Affordable Health Care Act hospitals can be penalized 3 percent on their Medicare health reimbursements if patients are readmitted within 30 days of being discharged. One of the keys to reducing readmission rates is for home healthcare agencies to provide effective post-hospital treatment to patients. Hospitals are gearing up to measure the success of the home health agencies that are treating their patients after discharge. Hospitals are taking great notice of this for cost effective purposes, home health agencies should take notice because they can be referred to by the hospital as the post-discharge provider for the patients coming out.
Educating the Patients
One of the most effective ways for a home healthcare agency to keep a patient from returning to the hospital is to ensure that patients are being properly informed/trained on what preventative measures they can take to ensure they remain as healthy as possible without having to be readmitted. The consensus surrounding this emerging topic is that patient training programs are an integral part towards the prevention of readmission. One would naturally think that patients are being informed, but not much follow up has been brought to light until this point. As a first line of defense, the homecare group should ensure that the patient understands their disease and what steps they need to be taking to avoid exacerbation to the point where they are having difficulty breathing. When it comes to situations where it involves breathing, panic will naturally set in if all of a sudden one is having a tough time breathing. By someone simply slowing down and taking deeper, slow breaths, they can adjust their breathing and minimize their symptoms – more than likely avoiding having to go to the hospital.
How to Make a Difference
When patients are more educated and equipped with the proper information to avoid going to the hospital for readmission, they will in turn take the necessary steps to care better for themselves. Hospitals cannot avoid readmission if they are not properly educating the patients when they leave in the first place. As patients are concerned about their own oxygen levels, hospitals are concerned about having enough and reducing costs over time. Consistent use and the same patients coming in time and time again, ends up wasting money for the hospital and insurance companies alike. Some hospitals are not as well equipped as others so it is imperative to focus on the amounts of oxygen that are being delivered to the various hospitals.
What this all boils down to is home healthcare agencies taking the proper steps to educate their patients that have been released from the hospital. While making sure the patients are properly informed about the steps they should take to prevent further unnecessary readmissions. In combination with educating patients, homecare companies can help hospitals to reduce readmission rates. This will help the home care agency to be a preferred post-discharge provider for the hospitals they serve.