LAS VEGAS — A post-discharge phone call reduced 30-day hospital readmission rates by 20% in a sample of pediatric patients, findings from a pilot program at Children’s Hospital of Georgia in Augusta indicate.
The hospital had a preventable readmission rate that exceeded the national average by 8% to 40%, so Sharyn Renee Flippo, DNP, CPNP, an Assistant Professor in the department of Biobehavioral Nursing at Georgia Regents University College of Nursing, and colleagues designed an intervention to see if post-discharge phone calls could improve compliance and understanding of discharge instructions at the 154-bed facility.
“Preventable hospital readmissions affect not only hospital and insurance costs, but may also be an indicator of a patient’s overall health status,” she said during a poster session at the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners 2015 meeting. “Once home, patients become frightened and anxious with no knowledge of how to get help if they need it.”
Among 329 patients observed during the study period, 30 met inclusion criteria and had diagnoses of pediatric nephritis, glomerulonephirits, minimal change nephrosis, nephrotic syndrome, acute renal failure, asthma, or urinary tract infection.
Overall, 56% of patients receiving the post-discharge phone call, and 60% of patients whose medical records were reviewed had a primary diagnosis of asthma or asthma with exacerbation.
The phone intervention resulted in a 6% post-intervention readmission rate (n=15), which brought the hospital in accordance with national averages.
Although the results weren’t statistically significant due to the small sample size, the findings were clinically significant and demonstrated a decrease in readmission rates for the study target population below rates recorded in 2012, according to Flippo.
“Each preventable readmission not only reduces health care costs to families and the hospital, it also lessens the potential for patients to acquire nosocomial infections and increase patient satisfaction,” she said.
The positive results from the pilot program also encourage further evaluation of the discharge process to improve effectiveness and better lateral integration for patient care.
- Flippo SR. #W-5. “Reduction of 30-day preventable pediatric readmission rates with post-discharge phone calls utilizing a patient- and family-centered care approach.” Presented at: NAPNAP 2015. March 11-15, 2015; Las Vegas.