Importance: Readmission to the hospital can lead to poorer patient outcomes and increased health care costs. The effect of occupational therapy interventions for adult hospitalized patients on readmission rates has not been previously evaluated.
Objective: To systematically examine the published literature to determine the effects of occupational therapy interventions for adult hospitalized patients on readmission rates.
Data Sources: Systematic search of five electronic databases was performed from database inception until May 2020, supplemented by citation and reference list searches.
Study Selection and Data Collection: This review is reported in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines and was registered prospectively; methodological quality of the included studies was assessed using the Downs and Black checklist. Meta-analyses were conducted with clinically homogeneous data; the overall body of evidence was graded for quality.
Findings: Meta-analysis of 7 studies with 16,718 participants provided low-quality evidence that 1-mo readmission rates were reduced when adult patients hospitalized for general medical and surgical care received additional occupational therapy interventions compared with standard care. Subgroup analysis of 4 studies provided moderate-quality evidence that interventions focusing on the transition from hospital to the community were effective in reducing 1-mo readmissions to hospitals compared with standard care.
Conclusions and Relevance: Occupational therapy interventions can be effective in reducing readmissions among some adult hospitalized patient populations, including those admitted for surgery or management of acute medical conditions, with stronger evidence to support transitional care interventions.
What This Article Adds: Occupational therapy interventions can be effective in reducing readmissions among adult hospitalized patients. There is a continued need for occupational therapy practitioners to understand their value and contribution to reducing avoidable readmissions to hospitals.