Unplanned hospital readmissions is a hot topic these days. Hospital readmission is one of the costliest services in healthcare and costs organizations billions each year. Value-based care initiatives like the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program are forcing healthcare facilities to find ways to reduce costly hospital readmissions. While organizations scramble to find and fix the causes of the costly readmissions, one new study is finding a connection between hearing loss and hospital readmissions.
According to the federal government, readmissions occur within 30 days of discharge for one in five older adults. Readmissions are bad for patients and devastating financially for the providers. Medicaid patient readmissions alone cost the government $26 billion annually, forcing the withholding of payments to institutions who are readmitting patients within 30 days of discharge. Significant reasons for hospital readmissions include:
With the intense focus on reducing hospital readmissions, researchers are looking at the impact hearing loss may have upon the costly returns. A study is looking into the extent to which a hearing loss might affect hospital readmissions. By using the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS), the researchers sought patients age 65 and older who have difficulty communicating with healthcare personnel due to their hearing loss. Comparing these hospitalization experiences with those patients who do not have hearing problems, the researchers are finding a 32% increase in the likelihood of being readmitted within 30 days for the group with hearing problems. This risk takes differences between the groups such as age, the number of medical issues, and other socioeconomic issues into account.
Another study finds that patients who treat their hearing loss with hearing aids are less likely to get admitted to a hospital or visit an emergency room. Furthermore, those admitted to the hospital spend fewer nights overall. These findings do not only show the importance of treating hearing loss with hearing aids but demonstrate their role in decreasing hospital readmissions for those who are hearing impaired.
It is no secret that people with a hearing impairment experience difficulty understanding speech in noisy and stressful situations. Noisy places such as hospitals cause hearing-impaired patients to have trouble hearing information such as what medications to take after discharge, or follow-up care instructions. The researchers suggest low-cost hearing devices be utilized by hospitals to assist their hearing-impaired patients. They also hope that their findings will bring awareness to this issue and help improve healthcare for those who have trouble hearing.
If you find yourself facing hearing loss, schedule an appointment with a hearing healthcare professional today. Treating a hearing loss will not only benefit the quality of your life, but it may help to reduce hospital readmissions as well.