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Published on 15 February 2008

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Communication gap poses risk for elderly


Communication gaps, especially for medicines management, seem to be a major factor in emergency readmission of elderly patients, researchers have concluded.

The retrospective case review of elderly patients readmitted shortly after hospital discharge was published recently in Quality and Safety in Health Care.

The investigators aimed to quantify the extent to which preventable deficiencies in communication played a role in emergency readmissions in one UK centre.

They carried out a case-note review for elderly patients (aged 75 and over) readmitted to hospital as an emergency within four weeks of previous discharge.

Outcomes studied were proportion discharged with inadequate arrangements or information for discharge care, proportion discharged with missing medication management information, the proportion for whom incomplete medication information contributed to readmission and the proportion of these patients for whom this was considered preventable.

The authors concluded that incomplete discharge communication was common, and this was particularly a problem for medicines management.

They suggest that these communication gaps contributed to many of the preventable adverse events and readmissions.

Qual Safety Health Care

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