Hospital ReadmissionsErik Burns
Until now, no one has identified illness recovery as a science. There is a large body of research on every type of illness, but not how to recover from it. This is particularly true in traditional western medicine, where the majority of medical practice is to seek answers. However, there is a growing number of practitioners starting to look at patients from a “functional” perspective. The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) defines functional medicine as asking “the how and why illness occurs, and restores health by addressing the root causes of disease for each individual.” This holistic approach is taking root and large health care institutions such as Cleveland Clinic have opened new Functional Medicine departments. The science is coming from multiple centers and practitioners, but none speak to the general physiological process of recovery.
There is a landmark study on hospital readmissions that has not received the attention it deserves. Dr. Harlan Krumholz and researchers from Yale University published a study in 2013 that looked at over two million 30-day hospital readmission rates in people over the age of 65.
1 in 6 patients were readmitted within 30 days of discharge. The majority of people who were readmitted back to the hospital were readmitted for reasons other than the illness that put them there in the first place. For example, when someone was originally admitted for a heart condition, many times they were readmitted within 30 days for pneumonia. This raises a very big question, which still needs an answer: how do we combat hospital readmissions?
One of the key takeaways from this study was the notion that people are discharged from the hospital with something called Post-Hospital-Syndrome. Researchers cited that people experience a period of generalized risk for poor outcomes related to staying or leaving the hospital. While staying in the hospital, people are subjected to hospital-acquired infections, poor sleep, poor nutrition, and generalized weakness from lying in a hospital bed. This leads to an inability to regain strength at home. Being at home can also produce issues related to dehydration, nutrition, and nausea from prescribed medications. Patients often battle difficulty thinking clearly, drinking enough fluids to stay adequately hydrated, and loss of balance. These issues put patients at risk of falling, bring feelings of frustration, and unfortunately a trip back to the hospital.
Health care’s answer to “fixing” this problem has been to identify people who are high risk, and working to get their doctor’s follow up visit done a little quicker. Most recently, telemedicine has made its way into people’s homes, providing contact with a care provider via the internet. These are excellent approaches, but it still does not address the core reasons people fail to recover: poor nutrition, poor sleep, medication intolerance, poor physical condition, and poor mental condition.
Make People Better is addressing these core issues a few ways. First, at-home DNA testing can virtually eliminate adverse drug reactions, identify nutritional preferences, and encourage direct participation by the patient through shared decision-making.
Second, we have developed a Hydrobiotic called re:iimmune, sold over the counter at pharmacies and clinics, that delivers balanced electrolytes, pre and probiotics, zinc, ginger, and L-glutamine to support the body’s natural recovery processes, improve digestion, and decrease nausea.
The key takeaway for you is 1 out of 6 people in the United States will be readmitted to the hospital within the first 30 days of leaving. We do not want you to be the 1.