Hospital-based efforts to prevent readmissions for heart conditions found to be lacking, research finds

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Hospitals worried about readmissions should focus on nearby nursing homes' pressure ulcer stats, stu
Hospitals worried about readmissions should focus on nearby nursing homes' pressure ulcer stats, stu

Comprehensive plans to prevent hospital readmissions for heart failure and acute myocardial infarction (AMI) in U.S. hospitals are spotty at best, new research suggests.

In a survey of 500 U.S. hospitals, researchers found that although 90% of hospitals had written objectives for cutting heart failure and AMI-related readmissions, on average hospitals have only 4.8 of the 10 most recommended practices for preventing readmission. About 70% of the hospitals surveyed partner with nursing homes.

But fewer partner with other hospitals or physician groups, which study authors said could be attributed to insufficient resources and constraints on staff time. “It may also reflect the complexity of coordinating efforts among physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and many of the ancillary staff to achieve a smooth discharge. Standardizing systems for reducing readmissions may address some of these challenges,” the authors wrote.

Health policy experts have said that Affordable Care Act-mandated penalties for readmissions present an opportunity for high-quality nursing homes. The prospect of penalties has the potential to transform relationships between SNFs and hospitals, experts emphasize.

Click here to read an abstract of the study.

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