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Patients and providers want to help avoid having to return to the hospital after cardiac care. As many as 1 out of every 6 congestive heart failure patients return to the hospital within 30 days. Some studies suggest that second trips to the hospital, also called readmissions, could be reduced by 50%.

Both health care providers and patients share the challenge of reducing readmissions and improving care. Some steps to help reduce readmissions include:

  • Ask questions
  • Make sure you understand your doctor's instructions
  • Take prescribed medications as directed
  • Attend follow-up appointments
  • Contact your doctor if your condition worsens
  • Maintain a healthy diet and exercise
  Health Care Providers
  • Understand and identify which patients are at greatest risk
  • Provide clear discharge instructions that are culturally relevant
  • Ensure smooth transitional care
  • Schedule follow-up care
  • Participate in readmission prevention programs

Additional sources:

10 Proven Ways to Reduce Hospital Readmissions by Jaimie Oh, Becker’s Hospital Review, September 21, 2011,

Jack BW, et al. (2009), A reengineered hospital discharge program to decrease rehospitalization: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med., 150(3):178-87.

Weiss, M. E., Yakusheva, O. and Bobay, K. L. (2011), Quality and Cost Analysis of Nurse Staffing, Discharge Preparation, and Postdischarge Utilization. Health Services Research, 46: 1473–1494.