When you consider that one in five Medicare patients are rehospitalized within 30 days of discharge to a skilled nursing facility – often for preventable conditions – the challenge to improve clinical outcomes and protect revenue is compelling.  According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, $17 billion of a total $26 billion cost to the government for Medicare patient readmissions could have been avoided.

Reversing this trend is a priority for skilled nursing providers and the nation overall.  A recent study compared training approaches to determine the overall effectiveness of rapid or gradual implementation of Project Re-Engineered Discharge (RED). The study found that when implemented gradually in skilled nursing homes, it was more effective in improving resident discharge and cut readmissions.

Originally designed for hospitals, RED is an evidence-based strategy designed to reduce readmissions through care coordination efforts and streamlining discharge via patient education and community follow-up.

The study compared one-day training with efforts spread out over a few months. While both options helped improve post-discharge care quality, staff who received the RED program training over time showed greater buy-in and better program implementation than those who trained in a day. Additionally, the extended training also contributed to lower hospital readmission rates.

For long-term care providers, there are options to incorporate training into initiatives that help reduce return-to-hospital rates – from artificial intelligence programs that track patient conditions for early intervention to care coordination programs such as RED.  The results point to the value of a long-term investment in staff training to improve clinical outcomes and reduce rehospitalizations.

Click here to read about the study.