Readmissions into hospital ‘avoidable’

Too many older people are readmitted to hospital because of preventable crises, according to a report this week.

The Commission for Social Care Inspection study of about 70 older people discharged from hospital last year found that almost one-third were readmitted due to “potentially avoidable” crises.

It says poor co-ordination of plans for at-risk individuals between GPs, community nurses and social services was “undermining” efforts to cut emergency admissions, especially out-of-hours.

The study, a follow-up to a 2004 CSCI report on hospital discharges, also points to the “inconsistent” quality of home care, which was deemed “unacceptable” in some cases.

The CSCI also found that hardly any of the older people who had moved directly into a care home from hospital at the time of the first study had subsequently moved back home.

This week’s report says professionals’ fear of errors, complaints and litigation was a “significant influence” in placing people in residential care.

The CSCI calls for more “responsible risk-taking” from health professionals to help older people remain at home.

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