As the federal government has been placing increased pressure on hospitals to reduce their readmission rates, there have been numerous strategies put forth as a means to help lower these rates. One is to provide more information to patients upon discharge. Another is to increase the number of follow up appointments so that the doctor(s) can keep track of progress.
A third is through appropriate home care. By having aides and other professionals -including a visiting nurse, physical therapist, and more- stopping by to assist, support, and check on the individual following discharge, it stands to reason that this would help seniors and others maximize their chances of making a full recovery.
In the years since the federal government began placing pressure on these hospitals, there have been questions about whether it would actually be able to reduce those readmission rates. Early studies have indicated that this has been the case.
Dianne DeOliveira writes in the article, Home health care decreases hospital readmissions, study shows, published for New Jersey 101.5:
“The 30-day hospital readmission rate among beneficiaries receiving home health care services was 17.2 percent, as opposed to 24.5 percent among those who received a home health care referral, but refused the service. For patients living with multiple (four or more) chronic illnesses, the disparity was even greater – 23.7 percent of home health care recipients requiring a readmission as opposed to 31.8 percent of those who refused home health care.”
This study was conducted by Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network and was contracted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). What appears to account for these reduced readmission rates is that when people have access to proper care and support after they’ve been discharged from the hospital, they increase their chances of not only making the proper recovery, but also stay on top of any potential problems that can arise.
The study found that among 200,000 Medicare beneficiaries, those who received proper home care support saved CMS $7 million because they could remain at home as opposed to in the hospital setting, which would cost more money, especially for Medicare and Medicaid.
As the initial studies show that hospital readmission rates can be reduced when people get the proper level of care at home, it will embolden a continued push to ensure more people receive the proper level of home care. When that happens, according to research, it can save money for the federal government and individuals recovering from any number of health emergencies.
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