Date of Conferral
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Inadequate discharge planning for individuals with chronic illnesses or injuries is associated with increased readmissions to the hospital or rehabilitation facility where the original treatments were administered. To help ensure the recovery of discharged patients and avoid readmissions, discharge planners guide medication and care processes. The rate of readmissions was high in a stand-alone rehabilitation center due to ineffective discharge plans. Patients, family members, and caregivers lacked knowledge about medications, treatments, and self-care guidelines after the patient left the facility. The purpose of this project was to ascertain the impact of improved discharge processes using the (a) IDEAL Discharge Planning Overview, Process, and Checklist; (b) the teach-back Method training for discharge nurses; and (c) the Postdischarge Rehabilitation Services Follow-Up Tool incorporating telephone calls to all participants during Weeks 1, 2, and 4 postdischarge. Lewin's theory of planned change undergirded this project. According to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data, the rate of readmissions among the 50 participants was 4.4%, compared with 6% (all-facility readmission rate) during the same quarter of the prior year. Findings from this project suggest that reductions in readmissions were associated with improvements in discharge planning, training of caregivers, and the use of national tools to standardize practices in reducing readmissions. The implication of this project for positive social change is that patient-centered inpatient rehabilitation care and patient-centered care following discharge may reduce readmissions, reduce costs, improve reimbursement, and reduce deterioration of patients' conditions postdischarge.