How lay-health workers are reducing readmission rates at a rural Kentucky hospital

For rural hospitals, lay-health workers, or those who perform healthcare functions but have not received formal professional education, can help reduce readmission rates, according to a study published in Health Education Research.

The study examined how a lay-health worker program could help patients who had a high risk of readmission after they were discharged from the hospital. The program aims to assist these high-risk patients with their social needs.

To determine how lay-health workers affected hospital readmission rates, the researchers looked at 30-day readmissions at a rural Kentucky hospital.

Here are three findings from the study.

1. For patients who were in the lay-health worker program, the study found a nearly 48 percent reduction of 30-day hospital readmissions rates compared to the patients who were not a part of the program.

2. Additionally, the study found a 56 percent decrease in odds of being readmitted within 30 days among patients in the lay-health worker program compared with those not in the program.

3. After the researchers adjusted for patients' education, transportation cost and anxiety symptoms, they found a 77 percent decrease in odds of being readmitted among patients who participated in the lay-health worker program. 

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