The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented surge in healthcare resource utilization. To accommodate the influx of patients, healthcare systems have needed to alter their workflows, staffing allocation, and use of space and equipment, while simultaneously managing significant concurrent logistical and financial challenges, according to a report by the Joint Commission.
As a result, COVID-19 may have affected the preventability of 30-day hospital revisits, including readmissions and emergency department (ED) visits without admission. A new study in the November 2021 issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, “Preventability of 30-Day Hospital Revisits Following Admission with COVID-19 at an Academic Medical Center,” identified common contributing factors and recommended interventions to decrease future revisits among patients with COVID-19. The study identified patients with a 30-day revisit following hospital discharge at an academic medical center. Findings showed 13.2% of COVID-19 hospitalizations resulted in a 30-day revisit. Of these, more than a quarter were potentially preventable. The top five contributing factors included:
- Patient/caregiver misunderstanding of the discharge medication (25% of revisits)
- Inappropriate choice of discharge location (25% of revisits)
- Inadequate treatment of medical conditions (15% of revisits)
- Discharge without needed procedure (15% of revisits)
- Patient discharged too soon (15% of revisits)
The study authors also provided recommended interventions to reduce hospital revisits among patients with COVID-19, including improved self-management at discharge to ensure the patient and caregiver(s) understand and can follow through with the discharge plan, as well as improved clarity, timeliness and availability of information provided at discharge.
Another recommended intervention was to provide more complete communication of information such as high-quality, comprehensive discharge documentation. The study authors believe the interventions could be applied to reduce revisits in the future, in both pandemic and non-pandemic conditions.