Research states that nearly 20 percent of Medicare beneficiaries are rehospitalized within a month of leaving the hospital. The majority of these returns are completely preventable with proper post-acute care. Evergreen offers a variety of rehabilitation services to speed recovery and reduce healthcare spending, with the ultimate goal of preventing hospital “U-turns.”
What is Rehospitalization?
When a patient departs an acute care hospital and then returns to it for the same condition within 30 days, it is considered a rehospitalization. In addition to causing stress for patients and families, rehospitalizations equate to nearly $15 billion in healthcare costs each year according to a study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Lowering rehospitalization rates has been a major target of government institutions and healthcare providers in the last decade. Post-acute care, including rehabilitation, plays a significant role in meeting this objective.
What is Post-Acute Care?
The term post-acute care refers to rehabilitation or palliative services (i.e., those providing relief to seriously ill individuals) which a patient can receive following a hospital visit. Post-acute care can include a stay in a rehabilitation facility or a skilled nursing facility, or merely refer to outpatient care.
According to an insightful article in Hospitals & Health Networks magazine, hospitals are increasingly viewing post-acute care facilities as partners in healthcare – vital to their own operations. They now realize that post-acute care is crucial to preventing rehospitalizations. In the past, any care after the hospital would have just been considered a “downstream” option for patients.
What Conditions Lead to Rehospitalization?
Most of the leading causes of rehospitalization are medical, and several of them are related to chronic disease. The most common diseases that send patients back into the hospital include heart failure, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and pneumonia.
On the surgical front, two of the most common procedures that result in hospital returns are cardiac stents and major hip or knee replacements. In the case of post-surgical rehospitalizations, the source of the problem is often a lack of support for patients once they return home and find themselves unable to follow their doctors’ instructions.
How Can Patients and Institutions Reduce Rehospitalization Rates?
High-quality post-acute care with rehabilitation has been shown to decrease the likelihood of a rehospitalization by equipping patients with the support they need to transition to self-care, while regaining strength and mobility.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, medical providers can take additional steps to ensure that rehospitalization is less likely. These steps include:
- Focusing on better coordination and communications between providers, patients, and their caregivers.
- Improving discharge planning, education, and follow-up for patients once they leave the hospital.
- Taking advantage of electronic medical records to share information and arrange for continuity of care.
Avoiding Hospital U-Turns: Rehabilitation is Key
Hospitals and physicians are becoming more and more aware that transitioning a patient to a rehabilitation facility can prevent rehospitalization. A professionally-staffed rehab facility with skilled nurses and therapists can help patients adapt following surgeries, manage their chronic conditions, and regain health in a supported environment. This personalized attention and assistance helps patients return to independent living – without a return trip to the hospital.
A high-quality post-acute care environment provides nursing care to help patients manage medications and follow post-acute care protocols – which are key elements for avoiding rehospitalization. Rehab facilities also provide occupational and physical therapy to help patients regain strength, mobility, and function while dealing with a chronic illness, or simply post-surgery.
Post-Acute Care at Evergreen Health & Rehab
The doctors, nurses, and therapists at Evergreen Health & Rehab are experts in helping patients transition to independence following hospital treatment. They routinely work with conditions that result in rehospitalization – giving them an understanding and perspective of these diseases that many facilities do not comprehend.
Evergreen’s skilled professionals are specialists in the areas of chronic heart failure and COPD. We offer supervised gentle exercise and a state-of-the-art program of mild electrical stimulation which is proven to help patients manage these diseases. Patients also have access to the best occupational and physical therapists in the region; every day, Evergreen helps patients regain functionality and mobility after surgery.
Evergreen works with area physicians and hospitals to streamline the referral process and provide excellent continuity of care. We help hospitals keep rehospitalization costs down and provide better service to patients – making the transition back home smoother and less stressful.
Our goal is to help our rehab patients return to productive, healthy lives – and a trip back to the hospital just doesn’t fit into that plan. If you are in danger of rehospitalization, give Evergreen a call today. We’ll keep you out of the Emergency Room and help you live life to the fullest!