Home Health Drug Intervention Cuts Hospital Visits by 8%

Home health intervention with medication management can reduce hospital readmissions by as much as 8%, according to a joint study from national home health care provider Amedisys and Purdue University.

The study, conducted from January 2012 through April 2012, reveals that a patient population utilizing medication intervention post-discharge had a 4% hospital admission rate, compared to 12% admission rate for those in the control group.

Of the 895 total patients included in the survey, each was taking at least 12 or more medications.

The findings suggest a correlation between the total number of medications an individual is taking and the possible risk of re-hospitalization that might occur.

“Our findings indicate that patients in risk level 1, who take medications independently and have fairly good functional health, benefit from this type of intervention,” said Dr. Alan J. Zilich, PharmD, associate professor of Pharmacy at Purdue University and lead investigator of the study.

About one-third of people over age 65 who take five or more medications experience some sort of adverse drug event, such as a bone-breaking fall, the study notes.

Of 400 patients discharged from the hospital, 66% of adverse events were related to medication reactions, while procedure-related complications accounted for 17%, according to a separate study published in 2003 called “The Incidence and Severity of Adverse Events Affecting Patients after Discharge from the Hospital.”

“This study also shows that a strong relationship exists between the probability of hospitalization, the patient risk score and the total number of medications a patient is on,” said Julie Lewis Sutherland, vice president of research and development for Amedisys. “Just as we hypothesized, post-acute care interventions can make a positive impact on preventing issues the elderly may have with their complicated medication regimes; ultimately resulting in lower readmissions.”

Written by Jason Oliva

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