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For patients with memory loss, family involvement key to care

Accreditation Insider, February 2, 2016

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A new study published in The American Journal of Accountable Care has found that involving family members in a patient’s discharge can drastically reduce readmissions. The study found that when a patient suffers from memory loss or cognitive impartment, educating their family about discharge needs can drop readmission by 30%.

"Patients with memory loss often don't do well with taking their medication on time, renewing their medication, and just coping in their day-to-day surroundings," said study author Mark Ketterer in a press release. "If they're in a medical setting such as a nursing home, a nurse or other provider is able to monitor them and make sure they're doing these things reliably and consistently. Assigning a nurse to at-home patients is simply not feasible for manpower and cost reasons. We found that involving and educating the family about the forgetfulness we frequently see in patients and having them more involved in overseeing the care at home proved to be really successful in keeping patients from returning to the hospital."

The CDC reports that 16 million Americans suffer from memory loss, with that number expected to go up due to the baby boomer generation ages.  Factoring in the cost of readmissions and the care associated with them, the study found that the family intervention strategy could save insurance companies nearly $180,000 a month for every 100 patients seen.



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