Patient medication management via in-home nurse visits could mitigate hospital readmissions
BATON ROUGE, La.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Amedisys, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMED), one of America's leading home health care and hospice company’s in the U.S., agrees with the Johns Hopkins Hospital study, “Challenges in Posthospital Care: Nurses As Coaches for Medication Management.” In this study nurses tracked 25 chronically ill patients after their hospital discharges to observe their self-management habits and provide transitional care intervention via telephone follow-ups and in-home visits.
The study revealed that home visits discovered 62 percent more medication discrepancies than telephone interviews.
“Having a registered nurse visit a patient during the transition from hospital to home, to coach them on healthy behavior and proper medicine-taking habits can reduce hospital readmissions,” said Michael Fleming, MD, FAAFP and Chief Medical Officer for Amedisys. “At Amedisys, we employ the Care Transitions method, which includes medication-management education as part of an overall, independent health-management strategy for our patients. Our Care Transitions approach – including education about their chronic illness, why they landed at the hospital, how to better manage their health including their medication regimen – begins before patients leave the hospital and it continues after they arrive back home,” Fleming said. “Amedisys has a team of Care Transition Coordinators that are nurses in 45 states across the country trained to help people make sense of all the medicine bottles and dosage instructions they’ve been given, and help them establish healthy regimens that positively impact their health status and quality of life.”
In 2004, readmission costs to Medicare for unplanned rehospitalization were estimated to be $17.4 billion. The National Quality Forum and other health care leaders are concerned that readmission rates, or the “billion dollar U-turn,” appear to be related to inadequate handoffs and transitions.
Amedisys has been a strong advocate for the role of nurses in health care and is an innovator in providing a care model for chronically ill patients that combines the traditional home care structure with communications technologies and enhanced clinical capabilities. Amedisys’ Care Transitions process identifies discrepancies and communication gaps in the transition from acute hospitalization to home, mitigating unnecessary readmissions.
The Johns Hopkins Hospital study “Challenges in Posthospital Care: Nurses As Coaches for Medication Management” showed that in-home visits by nurses can detect and prevent many of the problems that result in poor health and readmissions. This reinforces the benefits of Care Transitions and helps to encourage the shift to this type of health care.
Other noteworthy findings from the Johns Hopkins study include:
- None of the patients could find their discharge instructions, resulting in unintentional nonadherence to doctor’s discharge orders
- Contacting participants after discharge was challenging since the participants did not have reliable home phone service
- Several family members often share in the responsibility of providing care to the patient, resulting in confusion in schedules and responsibilities, since no one family member is coordinating care
- Patients were confused about medication instructions, especially for drugs that had taper, start and stop dates, as well as when multiple prescriptions were involved
“The in-home, nurse-led model of health care, or Care Transitions, leads to better health outcomes and less wasteful readmission costs. We stand ready to work with policymakers, government leaders, health care researchers and others in the health care field to make this approach to health care more accessible to everyone,” Fleming added.
Amedisys, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMED) is the nation’s leading health care company focused on bringing home the continuum of care. Each day Amedisys delivers personalized health care services to more than 35,000 individual patients and their families, in the comfort of patients’ homes. Amedisys has two divisions, home health care and hospice, and employs more than 16,000 skilled clinicians across the country. The Company’s state-of-the-art advanced chronic care management programs and leading-edge technology enable it to deliver quality care based upon the latest evidence-based best practices. Amedisys is a recognized innovator, being the first in the industry to equip its clinicians with point-of-care laptop technology and referring physicians with an internet portal that enables real-time coordination of patient care seamlessly. Amedisys also has the industry’s first-ever nationwide Care Transitions program. Amedisys Care Transitions is designed to reduce unnecessary hospital readmissions through patient and caregiver health coaching and care coordination, which starts in the hospital and continues throughout completion of the patient’s home health plan of care. For more information about the Company, please visit: www.amedisys.com.
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KEYWORDS: United States North America Louisiana
INDUSTRY KEYWORDS: Health Hospitals Nursing General Health Managed Care