Impact of Discharge Planning Decision Support on Time to Readmission Among Older Adult Medical Patients


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Abstract

Purpose of the Study:Hospital clinicians are overwhelmed with the volume of patients churning through the health care systems. The study purpose was to determine whether alerting case managers about high-risk patients by supplying decision support results in better discharge plans as evidenced by time to first hospital readmission.Primary Practice Setting:Four medical units at one urban, university medical center.Methodology and Sample:A quasi-experimental study including a usual care and experimental phase with hospitalized English-speaking patients aged 55 years and older. The intervention included using an evidence-based screening tool, the Discharge Decision Support System (D2S2), that supports clinicians' discharge referral decision making by identifying high-risk patients upon admission who need a referral for post–acute care. The usual care phase included collection of the D2S2 information, but not sharing the information with case managers. The experimental phase included data collection and then sharing the results with the case managers. The study compared time to readmission between index discharge date and 30 and 60 days in patients in both groups (usual care vs. experimental).Results:After sharing the D2S2 results, the percentage of referral or high-risk patients readmitted by 30 and 60 days decreased by 6% and 9%, respectively, representing a 26% relative reduction in readmissions for both periods.Implications for Case Management Practice:Supplying decision support to identify high-risk patients recommended for postacute referral is associated with better discharge plans as evidenced by an increase in time to first hospital readmission. The tool supplies standardized information upon admission allowing more time to work with high-risk admissions.

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