Hospital Readmissions Avoidance : Overcoming The Barriers

April 24, 2019 Jeanette Stern

After a patient has been released from the hospital, he or she will not want to find themselves right back in a hospital bed shortly after being released. However, hospital readmissions are still a common occurrence because of all the holes in the transition between the hospital and where they live.

There are various challenges that hospitals face when it comes to reducing their readmission rates, especially when it comes to minorities. There are not just challenges as it relates to reducing readmissions, there are also challenges as to how minorities can overcome all of those challenges. 

Hospital Readmissions and The Impact

Readmissions are costly for hospitals for a variety of reasons, especially as it relates to the unfavorable outcomes they can bring and the decrease in patient satisfaction. When hospital readmissions occur within 30 days of the time a patient has been discharged, it can account for nearly 20 billion dollars in expenditures that could have been avoided. Hospital readmissions will require hospitals to channel more resources and staff away from their new patients. When this happens, it can lead to several reductions in government funding. 

A big percentage of hospital readmissions can be avoided, and many hospitals have taken steps in reducing these readmission rates in recent years. Unfortunately, there are still many disparities that are constant among racial groups. The disparities that exist can stem from many causes, including problems that are related to a lack of resources and a lack of access to consistent health care. 

There are also other causes that are related to relationships patients have with their health care providers and communication. These causes are more within the ability of the health care facilities to properly address. These factors can also make a huge difference. When communication is one of the top priorities in healthcare, patients can help reduce hospital readmission rates by at least 5 percent.

There are many ways a hospital can work towards reducing readmission rates among all their patients, and minorities especially:

Improve The Transition 

It is important that each patient has access to the right interpretation services as they make the transition. This is important because patients need to have an understanding of their diagnosis and the type of care they will receive. This professional should be involved during the transition to ensure there is successful communication throughout the process. If a patient will need post-acute care, interpretation services can also be used. 

Provide Useful Educational Resources

When patients are given educational materials and other resources, these materials should be available in the preferred language of the patient. One translation is not going to work for all patients, especially when not all of your patients will speak the same language. We also encourage you to think about the educational level and the reading levels of your patients. When you provide educational materials that your patients can understand, they will have a better chance of having a successful healthcare transition.

Build A Level Of Trust

It is important that you consider the different cultures and beliefs of all your patients because of their cultural practices and their beliefs will have an impact on their health care. When there are practices and beliefs that welcome self-care and support from family and friends, you can use this to improve the success chances of post-acute care. Your medical facility can work with professionals who are familiar with different cultures to build relationships and maintain those relationships.

Are you building a high level of trust and communication between your patients? Are you taking steps to overcome cultural and language barriers? Contact us today for more information on the steps you can take to reduce hospital readmission rates and improve overall health outcomes for your patients. 




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