To assess the causes and preventability of pediatric readmissions from the perspectives of parents and their physicians to guide future interventions.
Parent interview, physician survey, and medical record review were completed for children who were readmitted to a pediatric hospitalist service within 30 days of an index admission. Questions were asked about Health Belief Model constructs (perceived severity, susceptibility or preventability of admission, and perceived barriers), discharge readiness, and follow-up plans. Parent and physician perceptions about reasons for readmissions were examined, and responses to open-ended questions were coded.
60 parent–physician pairs completed the study. The mean age of the patients was 6.43 (SD 6.42) years; 45% (n = 27) had a chronic disease, and 47% (n = 28) of patients were readmitted with the same or similar condition as in the previous hospitalization. At readmission, parents were more likely than physicians to think that the condition was serious (parent 98%, physician 76%; P < .001) and that the readmission could have been prevented (parent 59%, physician 36%; P = .04). Most parents (63%) and physicians (65%) thought it was likely that the child may have future hospitalizations. Opportunities to prevent readmission included need for parent education, improving medication access and adherence, and need for coordination of follow-up care.
Many parents and physicians thought the readmission was preventable, and the majority of both thought that the patient was susceptible to another hospitalization. Parents and physicians suggest opportunities to improve care processes during hospitalization and in services provided after discharge to reduce readmissions.