The Joint Commission Launches Campaign to Reduce Readmissions

jointcommission-twitterThe Joint Commission has developed two new resources to help health care providers in their efforts to reduce patient readmissions and improve the discharge process. The resources are a new Speak Up campaign for providers and organizations to educate patients, including an infographic, animated video and podcast; and a Quick Safety newsletter for health care professionals that includes suggested actions for improving transitions.

The importance of transitions in improving patient safety is illustrated by The Joint Commission’s sentinel event data compiled from January 2014 to October 2015. The data show a total of 197 sentinel events – from suicide to falls to wrong site surgery – and the root causes included failures in patient communication (127 incidents), patient education (26 incidents) and patient rights (44 incidents). The majority of the patient education failures were related to not assessing the effectiveness of patient education or not providing education. The patient rights failures included absent or incomplete informed consent, and lack of the patient’s participation in their care.

The new public service campaign “Speak Up: Avoid a return trip to the hospital” uses easy-to-understand language to help patients understand the steps they should take after they are discharged to avoid returning to the hospital. The materials are free and available on The Joint Commission’s website. They were developed so that health care organizations and providers can easily display and distribute them to patients and caregivers in their facilities, online and in printed materials.

The pre-discharge information in Speak Up includes facts patients need to know about their treatment and diagnosis, medication, follow-up care and information on where and how to get help if they need it. The post-discharge recommendations explain to patients the steps they may go through depending on their condition and the location they are discharged to. The infographic includes tips and bulleted lists describing the different settings where a patient might receive care following discharge including a doctor visit, home care, community services, therapy, hospice and a nursing care center.

The Quick Safety, “Transitions of Care: Engaging Patients and Families” focuses on ways to improve transitions and involve patients and their families in the process. The publication includes suggested actions to consider for positively affecting patient transitions, such as:

  • Organizational policies that enable families to visit around the clock
  • Conduct physician and interdisciplinary rounds at the patient’s bedside
  • Have nurses give their change of shift report at the patient’s bedside
  • Patient-centered discharge planning
  • Electronic health records that patients can access and edit

The Speak Up infographic, podcast, video and other resources are available for free download. To learn more, please visit this website. The Quick Safety is available for download here.

About the Speak Up Program
In March 2002, The Joint Commission launched its Speak Up™ patient safety program. Over time, the program has expanded to more than 40 countries and features infographics, animated videos, brochures and posters.

The Joint Commission’s award-winning Speak Up program encourages consumers to:

  • Speak up if you have questions or concerns.
  • Pay attention to the care you get.
  • Educate yourself about your illness.
  • Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate (advisor or supporter).
  • Know what medicines you take and why you take them.
  • Use a health care organization that has been carefully checked out.
  • Participate in all decisions about your treatment.

There are NO copyright or reprinting permissions required for the Speak Up materials or copy. All Speak Up infographics, brochures and videos are available in English and Spanish.

About The Joint Commission
Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies nearly 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission here.