Study Examines Effective Threshold of Home Health Care Services to Avoid Re-Hospitalization

  By Patrick Broadwater
  Tuesday, April 9, 2019 4:05 PM
  Research, Faculty

home health nurse and patient

An average of one to two home health physical therapy sessions per week can help lower the risk of re-hospitalization by up to 82 percent in older adults during a 60-day period, according to research findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association.

The study, led by Jinjiao Wang, PhD, RN, an assistant professor in the University of Rochester School of Nursing, examined the impact of specific services in Medicare-certified home health care (HHC) programs, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and skilled nursing, on subsequent re-hospitalization among older patients.

Each year, more than 3.3 million re-hospitalizations occur in the United States, costing more than $41 billion. Older patients are particularly at risk for post-discharge functional decline and re-hospitalization, which occur in one-third of Medicare patients within 90 days of hospital discharge. To prevent unplanned re-hospitalization, older patients with high medical complexity are referred to post-acute services, such as HHC.

Previous research has demonstrated that HHC is effective in improving physical function and reducing health care costs, but this study is the first to systematically examine the relationships between specific services to find the threshold, or minimally effective, “dose” to avoid re-hospitalization.

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