Some Smart Ways to Reduce Hospital Readmission Rates

July 15, 2014 6:31 PM

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Some Smart Ways to Reduce Hospital Readmission Rates

A health care chaplain at the University of Alabama Medical Center in Birmingham commented recently that, "Hospitals are very good at curing us but not at making us whole." This was Drexel Rayford, who manages a program to support patients after they leave the hospital and are on their own. He finds and trains friends, neighbors, and family members of the patients to help with their follow-up care. It has reduced readmission rates dramatically. On the other side of that same coin, David Newman, M.D., wrote in the New York Times about increased readmissions caused by patients who develop additional stress or illness by virtue of simply being in the hospital and thus must be readmitted. With sometimes inedible food, noisy machines that prevent sleep, and lack of personal attention can cause what is now known as post-hospital syndrome.

Hospitals have begun to look for ways to make the inpatient experience less stressful with improved décor, food, even allowing patients to wear their own clothing rather than the undignified hospital gown. Indeed, hospitals need to reduce readmissions or lose money, and patients need to find support...

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