A transition of care program to reduce stroke related hospital readmissions

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Conference Proceeding

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Introduction: Readmission to the hospital after discharge following a stroke or TIA remains a nation-wide problem. While the CMS national benchmark was approximately 12% in 2015, our hospital Medicare stroke readmission rate rose from approximately 12% at the end of 2014 to 28.6% in February 2015. Our goal was a reduction in stroke readmission rates to below the national benchmark of 12% by December 2015. Hypothesis: We hypothesized that implementing a transition of care program at our 200 bed community hospital would reduce hospital stroke-related readmissions. Methods: In March 2015, a random sample of forty stroke/TIA patients that were discharged home between December of 2014 and February of 2015 were interviewed. The patients were asked about barriers to discharge, what could have improved the discharge experience, and what problems they encountered that could have resulted in a readmission. Based on their answers, risk factors were identified using an inverse Pareto graph and a transition of care program was implemented which included the following work flow: 1) daily rounding to query patients regarding insight into stroke risk factors, environmental concerns, and social impacts to discharge in the stroke unit by the stroke coordinator (a registered nurse); 2) a discharge telephone call within two business days to high risk patients identified during rounds focusing on review of the discharge summary, re-education regarding stroke risk factors, and ensuring that follow-up appointments were in place; 3) an outpatient follow-up appointment with a board certified vascular neurologist within two weeks of discharge. Results: Our transition of care program resulted in an improvement of 82.5%, with a Medicare stroke readmission rate of 5% in December 2015. As of May 2016, our year-to-date hospital stroke readmission rate is 8.1%, while the current CMS national average is 12.7%. Conclusions: A transition of care program is implementable in a community hospital setting, and results in reduced stroke-related hospital readmissions. Its success emphasizes the importance of identifying high risk patients and assessing individual drivers of readmission risk.




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