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Reducing avoidable rehospitalizations among seniors
Date:6/12/2011

BOSTONThe rehospitalization of senior patients within 30 days of discharge from a skilled nursing facility (SNF) has risen dramatically in recent years, at an estimated annual cost of more than $17 billion. A new study from Hebrew Rehabilitation Center (HRC), an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, demonstrates improvements in discharge disposition following a three-pronged intervention that combines standardized admission templates, palliative care consultations, and root-cause-analysis conferences.

The study, published in the June issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, compared patients' discharge disposition from HRC's Recuperative Services Unit (RSU) in Boston, a skilled nursing facility, before and after implementation of the intervention. The rate of patient rehospitalization fell from 16.5 percent to 13.3 percent, a drop of nearly 20 percent. Discharges to home increased from 68.6 percent to 73.0 percent, and discharges to long-term care dropped to 11.5 percent from 13.8 percent.

"The change in discharge disposition observed between the two periods, we believe, reflects an improvement in patient outcomes," says lead author Randi E. Berkowitz, M.D., a geriatrician at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center and medical director of the RSU. "Specifically, a lower acute transfer rate likely reflects improved processes of care in the SNF."

One out of five Medicare beneficiaries was rehospitalized within 30 days of hospital discharge, costing an estimated $17.4 billion, according to recent estimates. In addition, hospitalized patients admitted to a skilled nursing facility have a high rate of early, unplanned rehospitalization. There are many risk factors that correlate with future hospitalization, says Dr. Berkowitz, such as recent hospitalization, specific diagnoses (such as congestive heart failure), acute medical illnesses, depression, and other factors.

From the older patient's perspective, hospital readmi
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Contact: Scott Edwards
Edwards@hsl.harvard.edu
617-363-8309
Hebrew SeniorLife Institute for Aging Research
Source:Eurekalert

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