Study: 30% of pediatric readmissions are preventable

Accreditation Insider, August 2, 2016

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CMS views readmission rates as a key quality metric for hospitals, which is part of the reason so many studies focus on how to improve them. In that vein, a new study conducted at Boston Children’s hospital examined the preventability of pediatric readmissions.

Researchers found that when a child is sent to the hospital, there’s a 6.5% chance they'll be readmitted within 30 days. However, 29.5% of those readmitted were for issues that were potentially preventable; such as patient assessment, hospital-acquired conditions, or postoperative complications. More than 75% of preventable pediatric readmissions were caused by hospital related factors.

“One of the things we need to improve upon is engaging families at the time of discharge around how we’re feeling and how they’re feeling about the status of the child at that point in time,” said study author Sara Toomey, MD, to Kaiser Health News.

Since elderly patients tend to be overrepresented in hospital populations and because Medicare only provides benefits for people over 65, they tend to get more of a focus during readmission discussions. CMS doesn’t penalize facilities for high pediatric readmissions, though some states do.

Although readmissions can’t be completely eliminated, Toomey said, steps still need to be taken to prevent them.

“When you have a child coming home from the hospital, there are things you need to know,” she said. “And the more active people are in creating a plan and making sure they understand it, the better that will help their children."

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