Telephone Talks with Nurse Can Reduce Hospital Re-admissions
Weekly telephone contact with a nurse substantially reduced hospital readmissions for high-risk patients, according to results of a University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health study. The findings, published in the December issue of Health Affairs, also determined that health care costs were decreased by approximately $1,225 for each patient enrolled in the program, when compared to similar patients who were not enrolled. The study measured the efficacy of Coordinated Transitional Care (C-TraC), a program used by 605 patients discharged over an 18-month period from the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital. High-risk patients were defined in one of three categories: having dementia or some other impairment in memory, over 65 years old and living alone, or over 65 years old with a previous hospitalization in the last year. Patients in the program were onethird less likely to be readmitted than similar patients who were not in the program. According to Dr. Amy Kind, lead investigator and assistant professor of medicine (geriatrics) at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, patients in C-TraC were phoned by a nurse case manager 48 to 72 hours after discharge. The nurse met with each patient before discharge to make arrangements for the phone calls and with each patient’s hospital providers to help ensure that the patient’s transition home was as smooth as possible.