Martha Jefferson Healthwise: Re-Admissions

June 5, 2013

Martha Jefferson Hospital is trying to make sure that when you're discharged, you don't have to come back. The hospital is reducing the rate of re-admissions and they're being recognized for it.

Martha Jefferson Hospital has put some new measures in place to cut the number of re-admissions.

Re-admission is when patients are admitted to the hospital and return within 30 days.

"It's just the fact that if we can keep patients out of the hospital, that means that they are healthier," said Laura Decker, Director of Cardio Services, Martha Jefferson Hospital.

Right now, the hospital targets patients with pneumonia, heart failure and people who have had a heart attack.

They are doing a few things to prevent repeat visits for these folks starting with daily rounds.

"We have developed multidisciplinary rounds where a group of people get together from difference disciplines to discuss patients that are at higher risks for being readmitted with diagnoses of heart failure, pneumonia and heart attacks and other patients that are also at high risks," said Decker.

They also make follow up phone calls to check on patients after being discharged as well as scheduling follow up appointments with a patient's regular doctor.

"We're trying to give them the resources so that they are able to stay home and not come back. So, it's to empower them to have the tools to do what they need to at home.

Not only are doctors and nurses a part of this effort, pharmacists also play an important part in a patient's care by educating patients about their medicine.

"I think it's very important because it is confusing and especially when they're on 12 to 20 medication and they come in and add something else or take something off and they get home and they're confused. That's why I think pharmacists play a great role here so we can answer questions," said Meg Taylor, Clinical Coordinator of Pharmacy Services, Martha Jefferson Hospital.

Martha Jefferson is taking some extra precautions that could save patients a few dollars and a trip back to the hospital.

The VHA has recognized Martha Jefferson Hospital for reducing heart failure re-admissions by 20 percent and the hospital is receiving a service award for that at the end of June.

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