Pausing to Reduce Readmissions

19 Jun 2013

AF4Q in South Central Pennsylvania is empowering hospital staffs in order to avoid hospital readmissions. York & Gettyburg Hospital have implemented a program “Purposeful Pause” using LEAN thinking stolen from the automobile industry. All staff have the ability to “stop the line” in relation to patient discharge if they anticipate problems.  If anyone involved in the patient’s care feels that anything is getting in the way of the patient transition to their next care phase or puts them in danger of a readmission, a Purposeful Pause allows the staff person to alert the team and stops the discharge process until a solution can be found. 

For example, a patient with limited mobility might say they will have help at home.  The nurse, believing that there could be issues with mobility, would meet with family. If no one in the family was comfortable caring for the patient, alternatives could be explored. The hospital delay the discharge until the care management staff could find an alternative—a rehabilitation center—that would admit the patient.  If the nurse had not been empowered to do this, the patient would have been discharged to an unprepared and ill-equipped family. Readmissions are an eminent possibility when families are unable to cope.