A study conducted by US researchers has revealed that patients with vision loss have a longer average length of stay, higher readmissions rates and higher costs associated with hospitalisation.
The research, which was published in JAMA Ophthalmology, examined health care claims data from 24,188 older adults.
The authors estimated that identifying the presence of vision loss during hospitalisation and employing strategies to assist these patients may result in savings of $500m (£383m) annually.
This strategy could also result in improved patient outcomes, fewer hospital readmissions and better patient satisfaction, the authors emphasised.
The researchers’ suggestions for improving hospital care include conducting a quick evaluation of vision during the hospital admission process.
“If a deficit is found, a hospital bracelet indicating vision loss could be placed on the patient’s wrist and an indicator placed on the patient’s room door, similar to what is often done for patients at increased risk for falls,” the authors shared.
“This indicator would alert physicians and health care staff to the patient’s visual impairment and potential need for additional assistance,” they added.
The researchers note that although some costs may be incurred in making hospital facilities and staff more equipped to accommodate patients with vision loss, the potential savings and improvement in care make it a sound investment.
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