4 Staff Behaviors That Help Lower 30-Day Readmission Risk

A recent Gallup research study in the Gallup Business Journal has identified staff behaviors that may be useful in lowering 30-day readmission rates. 

The study surveyed 30,000 patients hospitalized in the last two years for heart attack, heart failure or pneumonia and determined the rates of medical adherence in the patient population, which is linked to 30-day readmission rates.

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Patients who strongly agreed with the following survey statements by either CMS or Gallup had a significantly lower risk of readmission, were approximately 33 percent more likely to take their medications and were 33 percent less likely to be readmitted in 30 days than those who disagreed.

  • When you left the hospital, you had a good understanding of the things you were responsible for in managing your health. (CMS)
  • When you left the hospital, you clearly understood the purpose for taking each of your medications. (CMS)
  • Your physician effectively communicated the different medical treatment options available for your health condition. (Gallup)
  • Even during stressful times, hospital staff equipped you with all the information, resources, and motivation that you needed to maintain proper diet and exercise. (Gallup)
  • Hospital staff effectively described what each of your prescribed medications do. (Gallup)

To achieve strong agreement on these points and lower 30-day readmission rates, Gallup suggests the following staff behaviors.

1. Hospital staff should give full explanations of what prescribed medications are meant to do, what they are not meant to do and the possible consequences of ignoring a medication schedule.

2. Hospital staff should purposefully engage patients in discussions of post-discharge care, especially the parts for which the patient is directly responsible. These discussions should also include patients' family and friends if possible.

3. Hospital staff should customize post-discharge plans for individual patients as much as possible, so patients feel empowered and engaged in their own care.

4. Hospital staff should always inform patients of multiple treatment options if they exist. This gives patients a sense of choice, making them more likely to stick to treatment, even if one option was the best from the beginning. 

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