Effect of Preoperative Counseling on Hospital Length of Stay and Readmissions after Total Laryngectomy

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Abstract

Objective

Total laryngectomy (TL) is a high-cost procedure with patients at risk for significant postoperative health care use. Face-to-face preoperative counseling provided by speech-language pathologists is a relatively inexpensive intervention that may improve care quality and decrease costs. We evaluated if preoperative counseling for patients undergoing TL was associated with differences in length of stay (LOS), use of the emergency department (ED), or unplanned readmissions within 30 days of discharge. A secondary analysis identified predictors of these 3 outcomes.

Study Design

Case series with chart review.

Setting

Academic medical center in the United States.

Subjects and Methods

Patients were included if they underwent TL from 2011 to 2015. Patient demographics and comorbidities, surgical characteristics, and perioperative care data were retrieved and analyzed for 116 patients. Univariate and multivariate models were constructed for 3 outcomes.

Results

LOS was significantly lower for patients receiving counseling (–3.0 days, P = .02). No differences were observed in rates of 30-day ED visits or unplanned readmissions. Care provided by high-volume surgeons was associated with decreased LOS (P = .005), while having postoperative complications increased LOS (P < .001). High rates of ED visits (12.1%) and readmissions (20.6%) were observed. Discharge to inpatient rehabilitation and the patient’s home distance from the institution were predictors of ED visits. TL as salvage therapy and occurrence of postoperative complications were risk factors for readmission.

Conclusion

Preoperative counseling was associated with marked reduction in LOS following TL without increased readmissions, which suggests that it may promote safe, earlier patient readiness for discharge.

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