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    • Better Care Transitions Can Help Patients Avoid a Return to the Hospital
      January 30, 2013

      When you or a loved one become critically ill, undergo surgery or suffer a devastating injury, you will probably be treated at a traditional acute care hospital, which has the resources, personnel and sophisticated medical equipment to treat severe injury or illness, under emergency circumstances. Sometimes, though, people with many medical complexities are unable to recover completely in the short-term acute care setting. When those patients are discharged directly home they often must be hospitalized again due to ensuing complications.

      Being rehospitalized after recovering from an acute illness, injury or surgery is something no one wants. Transfers back to a hospital can cause stress, harm and anxiety for patients, and can interrupt their rehabilitation and recovery after an acute illness. They can lead to complications, loss of function and even death in some cases. The good news is that many of these readmissions are preventable.

      Kindred Hospitals are transitional care hospitals offering long-term acute care for patients requiring continued care and extended recovery time. Our hospitals help reduce rehospitalization by providing a care transition for patients unable to fully recover in the traditional short-term acute care hospital setting.

      The fact is that hospital readmission rates have been rising through the years; with hospital stays shorter than they used to be, patients tend to be discharged in frailer states, leading many to return to the acute care hospital for further care after discharge. Approximately 20 percent of Medicare patients are readmitted within 30 days of discharge, according to published data. Heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia patients have some of the highest rates of readmission, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Recurrence of illness, complications and poor adherence to medications and post-discharge regimens are among the reasons for readmission.

      Rehospitalizations are also costing Medicare billions of dollars, and the government is cracking down on that cost burden by imposing penalties on acute care hospitals with higher-than-expected readmissions rates.

      Better management of care transitions has been identified as one way we can prevent readmissions, and Kindred can be your partner as you or a loved one transition from a traditional community hospital to a transitional care hospital. Because Kindred Transitional Care Hospitals offer more specialized care, they can provide targeted care for patients’ individual needs and conditions. Our hospitals provide daily physician support and 24/7 nurse and respiratory care coverage. Transitional care hospitals offer interdisciplinary care and services to meet patients’ complex needs with a wide array of skilled staff expertly trained in respiratory care, infection control, nursing, nutrition and more. Services such as radiology and special care units are available as well. The focus on patient needs helps facilitate recovery and discharge home or to a lower level of care, instead of a return to the traditional short-term acute care hospital.

      Kindred Transitional Care Hospitals reduced rehospitalization rates by 8.3 percent from 2008 to 2012, down to 11.2 percent. We continue to develop and implement initiatives aimed at reducing them even further.

      Kindred Healthcare is the largest diversified provider of post-acute care services in the United States. Kindred's mission is to promote healing, provide hope, preserve dignity and produce value for each patient, resident, family member, customer, employee and shareholder we serve.

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