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Reducing readmissions in hospitals

The topic selected for the capstone project is 

Reducing hospital readmissions

Hospital readmissions happen when patients have been admitted to a healthcare facility within one month after being discharged from earlier hospitalization. The readmission can be to any hospital and not specifically to the hospital that the patient was treated. There are various programs designed to reduce the rate of hospital readmissions in the country today. One of the programs is the Hospital Readmissions Reduction (HRR) which is designed to improve the health of patients with Medicare. The program links with hospitals to ensure that quality care is provided to reduce the cases if hospital readmissions.

On the issue of reducing healthcare readmissions, a clinical question formulated is the quality of health care provided in our healthcare facilities. Hospital readmissions have been increasing over the years because healthcare organizations do not follow up on the patients’ health after being discharged from the hospitals.

How the question was formulated.

The question on quality of patient care was developed after reviewing various cases of readmissions that have been reported.Providing quality healthcare and implementing telephone follow-ups with the patients would be important in reducing the number of hospital readmissions that are being witnessed in the country. Reducing hospital readmissions would provide the patients with financial incentives which would significantly reduce the cost of unnecessary readmissions. The government has also put strict measures to reduce hospital readmissions. Many healthcare facilities have been fined for readmitting patients. It is, therefore, crucial to come up with hospital readmission reduction programs which will help both the hospitals and the patients (Mistiaen, 2006).

In the efforts to reduce the rate of readmissions in hospitals, quality care will be achieved by focusing on better coordination between the healthcare providers and the patients.Communication is also important in ensuring that the patients are provided with quality care. Healthcare organizations should also improve discharge planning and follow-ups for discharged patients. Many cases of readmissions involve patients who have been discharged, and the hospitals fail to follow up on the condition of the patient. Quality care to patients would also involve the use of electronic medical records in sharing of information and providing continuity of patient care.

The importance of the question to clinical practices in the past, current, and the future.

Provision of quality care to the patients is very important in reducing the rate of hospital readmissions being experienced. When patients get readmitted in hospitals, most of them change the hospitals due to the dissatisfaction from the previous hospital that they were admitted. The high rate of readmissions adversely affects the hospitals as patients do not trust the services performed. To maintain the reputation of the hospital, it is important to ensure that quality medical services are offered to the patients and telephone follow-ups to ensure that the patients are in better health conditions to avoid the cases of readmission. 

Readmissions are expensive to both the patients and the health organizations. If a hospital fails to meet the readmission benchmarks, for instance, Medicare penalizes the hospital. Statistics show that the cost of readmissions to be more than $20 billion with half the cost considered avoidable. The high rates of readmissions experienced in most of the health facilities in the country involve patients with heart problems and pneumonia. Quality care to the patients would ensure that the patients have recovered before being discharged from the hospitals. After discharge, the patients should be closely monitored to reduce the causes of readmissions. Quality care and better programs to monitor the patients after discharge would significantly reduce the costs associated with readmissions and also increase confidence with the healthcare facilities.

Research and practice gap.

Research has been carried out on ways to reduce the rate of readmissions in hospitals. However, implementation of the strategies to practice has been slow thereby leading to an enormous researchpractice gap in the health sector. Health experts and stakeholders have used their experience in readmissions to come up with strategies to reduce the readmission rate especially for patients with heart conditions. Many hospitals have not implemented the research findings, and therefore the statistics have not been positive.

Research from the American Nursing Association showsvarious strategies that can be implemented by hospitals to bridge the researchpractice gap experienced in hospital readmissions. Some of the strategies that can be used to bridge the researchpractice gap include partnering with community doctors and with local hospitals. Also, the hospitals should have nurses responsible for medication reconciliation which would significantly reduce readmission rates. The hospitals should also arrange follow-up visits to ensure that the patients are in better medical condition. After discharge, the hospital should also assign staff to monitor the patient to test the results after discharge. Implementation of the strategies would help the hospitals in reducing the rate of readmissions thereby bridging the researchpractice gap that exists (American Nurses Association, 2015).





Mistiaen, P., & Poot, E. (2006). Telephone follow-up, initiated by a hospital-based health professional, for postdischargeproblems in patients discharged from hospital to home. Cochrane Consumers &Communication Group

American Nurses Association. (2015). Nursing: Scope and standards of practice (3rd ed.). Silver Spring, MD: Author

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