To lower readmissions, invest in these 6 occupational therapy interventions

Increased investment in occupational therapy was the only category identified by researchers where additional hospital spending displayed a strong association with a reduction in readmission rates, according to a recent study published in Medical Care Research and Review.

For the study, researchers conducted an analysis of Medicare claims and cost data to establish links between 19 specific spending categories and 30-day readmissions for heart failure, pneumonia, and acute myocardial infarction. The analysis included 2,791 hospitals for readmissions related to heart failure, 2,818 hospitals for pneumonia and 1,595 hospitals for acute myocardial infarction.

According to the study's authors, the analysis revealed "that occupational therapy is the only spending category where additional spending has a statistically significant association with lower readmission rates for all three medical conditions."

Frederick P. Somers, CEO of American Occupational Therapy Association, said, "The findings of this important study highlight just one of the many roles occupational therapy practitioners are playing in improving quality and reducing healthcare costs."

Researchers identified six occupational therapy interventions that could lower readmissions.

1. Provide the patient's caregivers with recommendations and training, better equipping them to help the patient return to daily functionality.

2. Thoroughly evaluate patients regarding their capabilities to live safely and independently and determine whether they require additional rehabilitation or nursing care.

3. Make assistive devices available to patients with existing disabilities, enabling them to safely perform essential daily activities.

4. Determine the safety of a patient's home prior to discharge and suggest modifications to improve safety.

5. Assess a patient's cognitive capabilities and whether they are physically dexterous enough to manipulate medication containers — provide training as necessary.

6. Collaborate with physical therapists to intensify inpatient rehabilitation.

More articles on quality: 
Nurse association provides naloxone toolkits to schools 
VA hospitals to start reporting quality data to Hospital Compare again 
Every state but 1 lowered hospital readmissions since 2010, CMS data shows

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