Background: Concerns about the costs and quality of hospital care have led to increased
interest in hospital readmissions in children. Children with medical complexity account for high proportions
of inpatient utilization and have a higher risk of hospital readmission.
Objective: To identify studies of discharge interventions to prevent hospital readmissions in children
with medical complexity.
Methods: We conducted a search to identify studies of discharge interventions. Included studies 1)
described an intervention or modifiable risk factor around the time of hospital discharge 2) included
pediatric patients with chronic illness and/or medical complexity and 3) reported subsequent hospital
Results: We identified ten studies testing the following interventions: multi-faceted discharge bundle
(including medication review, discharge education, and follow-up appointments) (s=1), post-discharge
follow-up clinic visits (s=3), post-discharge phone calls (s=2), intensive follow-up interventions for
very low birth weight infants (s=2), and education interventions in children hospitalized with asthma
(s=2). Four studies reported reductions in readmissions. The discharge bundle correlated with an
11.1% decrease in 30-day readmission (9.9% vs. 8.8%, p<0.05). All three studies of post discharge
follow-up clinic visits reported a decrease in 30-day readmission risk among children with follow-up
scheduled within 30 days, though one study also reported that medically complex children with follow-
up within three days had increased readmission risk.
Conclusion: Evidence supporting discharge interventions for children with medical complexity is limited.
Multi-faceted discharge interventions and post-discharge clinic visits may be effective.