Prevent Readmissions With Discharge Planning

Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media , April 5, 2011

When discharging older adults, hospitals must consider the situation at home and whether the family will be willing to follow a care regimen. Identify the problems and the organizations that can help. Popejoy also recommends a different approach to patient education and concentrating on what patients really need to know.

“We think they need to know all about how to take care of their drains,” she says. “And yes, that’s important, but we also need to know what’s most frightening to patients and what will be their stumbling block.” Issues such as where do they go for help? Do they understand the warning symptoms that could put them in jeopardy of readmission?

Such planning requires thought from healthcare teams and doesn’t lend itself to following a predetermined path.

“I get how hard this is,” says Popejoy, “I’ve done this for years myself before I went into academics.”

As the baby boomers age, the influx of older adults will stretch already thin resources and make aggressively tailoring discharge plans to individual patients a greater priority.

Rebecca Hendren is a senior managing editor at HCPro, Inc. in Danvers, MA. She edits and manages The Leaders' Lounge blog for nurse managers. Email her at
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