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Emergency hospital readmissions for preventable conditions on the rise

Monday 4th June 2018
A new report has revealed a recent rise in the number of emergency readmissions to hospital for potentially preventable conditions.
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NHS nurses will need to tackle a recent rise in the number of patients being readmitted to hospital for potentially preventable conditions, a new report has shown.

Analysis has been carried out by the Nuffield Trust thinktank to assess patient diagnoses and the reasons behind emergency hospital readmissions between 2010-11 and 2016-17 to highlight where improved quality of care in hospital or the community might have prevented readmission.

A 19 per cent rise in patients being readmitted to hospital in an emergency within 30 days of discharge was observed over the assessed time period, with a 41.3 per cent increase in emergency readmissions for conditions classified as potentially preventable.

Patients readmitted to hospital with pneumonia, for example, increased by 72.5 per cent, a rise that was greater than the overall increase in pneumonia cases. Meanwhile, readmissions for pressure sores almost trebled, with this trend superseding the overall increase in the number of hospital-based pressure sore diagnoses.

Additionally, the number of patients readmitted with venous thromboembolism grew by one-third during the study period. These three conditions were considered to be the most preventable, as none of them were present when these patients were first admitted.

The rise in the prevalence of these conditions suggests a need for nurses to improve the quality of hospital-based care, as well as to look at how patients are discharged and the standard of the available community and social care services.

Briefing author Jessica Morris, research analyst at the Nuffield Trust, said: "Emergency readmissions to hospital, for conditions that were not diagnosed during their first visit, are potentially a warning sign that a patient's quality of care may have been compromised.

"The findings provide local health providers with a good opportunity to sit up and focus their attention and quality improvement initiatives on the three conditions where we’ve seen the most significant rise in readmissions."

Written by James Puckle

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