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Readmission Prevention Effort Focuses on Colon Surgery Patients

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, February 11, 2013

Discharge instructions for patients who undergo colon surgery are so poor, that researchers from Baylor College of Medicine, the Houston Veteran's Affairs and Health Services Research Center, and Rice University have produced a consensus suggesting which post-surgical events should provoke patients to either call their doctors, or urgently call 911.

The need is critical, they say, noting that 16.6% of Medicare patients who undergo colon surgery each year require a readmission within 30 days, and those readmitted have higher mortality rates.

The need for better discharge instructions is especially great since colon surgery patients are now "fast-track" discharged about 3.4 days sooner than they were in 1986. And some 600,000 surgical procedures involve the colon or bowel in the United States each year.

Infections from colorectal surgery are the first or second most common type of surgical site infection, according to the American College of Surgeons. And hospital discharge planners now implement discharge interventions for medically ill patients, such as those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, or diabetes.

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