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Studies show that home visits to patients recently discharged from the hospital can help prevent unnecessary readmission.1 Providing continuing care instructions to patients in their homes—where they may be less overwhelmed than in the hospital—may also be a key mechanism for preventing readmission.2 Home visit clinicians and technicians can note any health concerns in the home environment and help patients understand their care plan in the context of that environment.2

The Patient Safe-D(ischarge) program used standardized tools to educate patients about their discharge needs, test understanding of those needs, and improve medication reconciliation at admission and discharge. A quasi-randomized controlled trial of the program found that it significantly increased patients' understanding and knowledge of their diagnoses, treatment, and required follow-up care.

Lau VI, Priestap FA, Lam JNH, et al. J Intensive Care Med. 2020;35:1067-1073.
Many factors can contribute to early, unplanned readmissions among critical care patients. In this prospective cohort study, adult patients who were discharged directly home after an ICU admission were followed for 8 weeks post-discharge to explore the predictors of adverse events and unplanned return visits to a health care facility. Among 129 patients, there were 39 unplanned return visits. Researchers identified eight predictors of unplanned return visits including prior substance abuse, hepatitis, discharge diagnosis of sepsis, ICU length of stay exceeding 2 days, nursing workload, and leaving against medical advice.  

A 69-year-old man with cognitive impairment and marginal housing was admitted to the hospital for exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). After a four-day admission, the physician arranged for discharge and transport to residential care home and arranged for Meds-to-Beds (M2B), a service that collaborates with a local commercial pharmacy to deliver discharge medications to the bedside prior to the patient leaving the hospital.

Lacker C. Am J Nurs. 2011;111:65-69.
Analyzing data from the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority Reporting System, this commentary identifies contributing factors to readmissions and suggests tactics to prevent them.