Re-Hospitalization Prevention Project Stresses Home Health Care Need

A New Jersey teaching hospital is taking a close look into the way in which the service of certified home health aides cuts down on rehospitalization rates among patients.

The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey is launching a new project, “I CARE-4-Healthcare Transition Project,” with the help of a $300,000 grant and partnership with the Visiting Nurse Association Health Group, and will utilize home health aides as an essential step in curbing rehospitalization.

“We hope to prevent discharged patients from unnecessarily returning to the hospital within the first 30 days of their discharge, and as a result, improve their health-related quality of life,” said Melissa Scollan-Koliopoulos, assistant professor of medicine, UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School.

The project’s four tiers of post-hospital care include a certified home health aide/patient navigator, registered nurse, advanced practice nurse (APN) and physician team. The home health aide’s role is to visit patients in the hospital and follow up after discharge.

“We selected diabetes, heart failure and pneumonia, because based on national Medicare statistics, patients with these conditions frequently return to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged,” Dr. Scollan-Koliopoulos said.

Ultimately, the goal is to cut down on the cost of care by preventing rehospitalization through the different tiers of care.

“Our goal is to extend the attention and care that patients receive from us beyond the four walls of UMDNJ-The University Hospital, thereby improving patient outcomes,” added Dr. Bleich, co-director for the project.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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