Study focuses on helping seniors avoid rehospitalization

In one of a growing number of efforts focused on reducing rehospitalizations, a common, costly phenomenon among elderly patients, researchers at Rush University Medical Center are studying the effects of a program using social workers to coordinate after-hospital care.

Rush has had its "enhanced discharge planning" program in place for two years, and hospital leaders say that patients like it very much. Prior to the program, patients often had difficulty getting to their doctors' offices, scheduling medical appointments and setting up home healthcare services. Often, their caregivers were overwhelmed by their family member's needs. The social workers have been a big help, hospital executives say.

Now, however, they want some hard stats on how the program is working. Researchers will evaluate the program using a randomized, controlled study to determine whether the program reduces readmissions, cuts down on emergency room visit, avoids nursing home stays and improves the patients' quality of life.

To learn more about the study:
- read this UPI story

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