Early Discharge Planning Reduces Hospital Readmissions among Older Adults

July 19, 2013 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​Compared with usual care, early discharge planning for older adults acutely admitted to the hospital was associated with fewer hospital readmissions within 1 to 12 months of discharge, according to the results of a study published July 6, 2013, in BMC Geriatrics. The study, which evaluated nine trials with a total of 1,736 participants, found that discharge planning with acutely admitted older adults improves system-level outcomes after the index hospital discharge. In addition to fewer readmissions within 1 to 12 months, early discharge planning also resulted in lower readmission lengths of hospital stay within 3 to 12 months of the index hospital discharge. Early discharge planning in the study involved (1) assessing the needs of older adults for discharge home with a focus on functional needs; (2) providing education to older adults and, when available, to their families or caregivers; (3) reviewing and adjusting medications; (4) transferring information to successive in-hospital healthcare providers or coordinating care with community healthcare providers; and (5) following up with one or more home visits and/or telephone calls after index hospital discharge.

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