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Hospital negligence may contribute to high readmission rates

Eugene patients expect the best medical care when checking into a hospital for treatment. This is true whether a patient is in a hospital for a planned surgery, or on an emergency basis. Patients place their trust and their lives in the hands of their medical team. However, hospital negligence continues to be an issue in Oregon hospitals. Mistakes such as medication errors, misdiagnosis or a failure to properly monitor patients can have serious consequences.

According to a recent study, about one in every five patients ends up back at a hospital within a month of treatment. At least 40% of those patients are readmitted to the emergency department. In many cases, these readmissions are related to the patient's first hospital stay.

The study focused on identifying the extent of medical care needed by patients in the 30 days after being discharged from a hospital. It followed patients in several states over a 14-month period. Acute care was needed in 17.9% of cases within 30 days of discharge. Patients had to make an emergency room visit in 7.5% of the cases. Patients were readmitted to hospitals within 30 days of discharge in 12.3% of cases.

The authors of the study suggest patients need more support after being discharged from the hospital. Poor coordination between different health care providers may be to blame for a large number of hospital readmissions. The authors also suggest that hospitals may not be identifying patients at high risk of complications following discharge. More patient support is needed for the transition from hospital to home. It is hoped the study will give a better understanding into readmissions in order to facilitate a decrease in future readmission rates.

Source: Medical News Today, "Many patients back in hospital within a month," Joseph Nordqvist, Jan. 23, 2013.

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