Role of Transitional Care Measures in the Prevention of Readmission After Critical Illness

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Abstract

Transitioning from the critical care unit to the medical-surgical care area is vital to patients’ recovery and resolution of critical illness. Such transitions are necessary to optimize use of available hospital resources to meet patient care needs. One in 10 patients discharged from the intensive care unit are readmitted to the unit during their hospitalization. Critical care readmission is associated with significant increases in illness acuity, overall length of stay, and health care costs as well as a potential 4-fold increased risk of mortality. Patients with complex illness, multiple comorbid conditions, and a prolonged initial stay in the critical care unit are at an increased risk of being readmitted to the critical care unit and experiencing poor outcomes. Implementing nurse-driven measures that support continuity of care and consistent communication practices such as critical care outreach services, transitional communication tools, discharge planning, and transitional care units improves transitions of patients from the critical care environment and reduces readmission rates.

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