Research Activities, November-December 2013
Unmet information needs of patients recently discharged home from the hospital may play a role in readmissions
Patient Safety and Quality
Up to 25 percent of hospital discharges result in the patient being readmitted within 30 days. When patients are discharged from the hospital to home, difficulties in the care transition, particularly patient information needs, may play an important role in readmission to the hospital, suggests a new survey of home care nurses.
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical School surveyed 119 home care nurses about their perceptions of post-hospitalization information needs and communication problems of older patients. The survey respondents identified a number of patients' communication needs, including information about medication regimens (reason for taking, side effects, costs, brand vs. generic names, and risks of non-compliance), the severity of their conditions, hospital discharge management process, non-medication care regimens such as wound care, use of durable medical equipment and home safety, the extent of care needed, and which providers are best suited to provide that care.
Several of the needs identified in this survey were not previously discussed in the literature, such as the need for more information about medication regimens, the severity of the patient's condition, post-discharge procedures, non-medication care regimens unrelated to medications, and the need for ongoing care with appropriate providers.
These findings may inform interventions that improve information sharing among clinicians, patients, and caregivers during care transitions that may improve patient outcomes, keep patients safer at home, and prevent unplanned hospital readmissions, suggest the authors. Their study was supported in part by AHRQ (HS18721).
See "Home-care nurses' perceptions of unmet information needs and communication difficulties of older patients in the immediate post-discharge period," by Katrina M. Romagnoli, M.S., M.L.I.S., Steven M. Handler, M.D., Ph.D., Frank M. Ligons, M.S., and Harry Hochheiser, Ph.D., in BMJ Quality and Safety 22, pp. 324-332, 2013.