Objective: To determine whether targeted postoperative care, based on preoperative risk assessment, can increase the number of patients who are discharged home directly from acute care after elective hip or knee arthroplasty.
Design: Quasiexperimental with historical control.
Setting: A public university teaching hospital.
Participants: One hundred patients who had an elective hip or knee arthroplasty.
Interventions: Between January and July 2001, 50 patients had their risk of discharge to extended inpatient rehabilitation assessed preoperatively with a newly developed Risk Assessment and Prediction Tool (RAPT). Postoperative management was targeted on the basis of the identified level of risk. Results were compared with those of a similar group of 50 patients treated between January and July 2000.
Main outcome measures: Discharge destination, length of stay (LOS), and readmission rates.
Results: The percentage of patients discharged directly home increased significantly, from 34% during 2000 to 64% in 2001 (P=.002), with no increase in readmission rates in the 12 months postdischarge. In addition, the mean acute hospital LOS decreased by 1.1 days to 7.5 days in 2001 (P=.02).
Conclusions: Use of the RAPT and targeted postoperative care resulted in more patients being discharged directly home after hip or knee arthroplasty while hospital LOS further decreased.