A recent study from the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine found that 28% of readmissions were attributed to infection. This considerably high percentage should be an spur for new infection control strategies both inside and outside the hospital. These infections are not only limited to patients discharged to home, but also patients discharged to skilled nursing facilities and long-term care facilities. Armed with this information hospitals should employ strategies that reduce infections when patients are inside and outside of the hospital.
When patients are inside the hospital it is a critical time to ensure they are educated on their post-discharge care, and given ample opportunity to ask questions about their medications and wound care during rounds or other regular check ins. Once this education piece takes place hospitals should reinforce the message through the use or teach back or recordings of discharge instructions.
After patients are either discharged to home or to another facility, the hospital should follow up with phone calls or text messages that ensure the patient is cleaning the wound properly, taking all necessary medications, and not noticing any signs of infection. By reaching out to patients proactively, care providers can address any issues before an adverse event occurs.
By reducing infections hospitals are not only improving outcomes through readmission reduction, but also reducing the overall costs associated with any care episode.