System-wide improvement for transitions after ileostomy surgery: Can intensive monitoring of protocol compliance decrease readmissions? a randomized trial

Sarah W. Grahn, Ann C. Lowry, Marc C. Osborne, Genevieve B. Melton, Wolfgang B. Gaertner, Sarah A. Vogler, Robert D. Madoff, Mary R. Kwaan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Hospital readmission is common after ileostomy formation and frequently associated with dehydration. OBJECTIVE: This study was conducted to evaluate a previously published intervention to prevent dehydration and readmission. DESIGN: This is a randomized controlled trial. SETTING: This study was conducted in 3 hospitals within a single health care system. PATIENTS: Patients undergoing elective or nonelective ileostomy as part of their operative procedure were selected. INTERVENTION: Surgeons, advanced practice providers, inpatient and outpatient nurses, and wound ostomy continence nurses participated in a robust ileostomy education and monitoring program (Education Program for Prevention of Ileostomy Complications) based on the published intervention. After informed consent, patients were randomly assigned to a postoperative compliance surveillance and prompting strategy that was directed toward the care team, versus usual care. OUTCOME MEASURES: Unplanned hospital readmission within 30 days of discharge, readmission for dehydration, acute renal failure, estimated direct costs, and patient satisfaction were the primary outcomes measured. RESULTS: One hundred patients with an ileostomy were randomly assigned. The most common indications were rectal cancer (n = 26) and ulcerative colitis (n = 21), and 12 were emergency procedures. Although intervention patients had better postdischarge phone follow-up (90% vs 72%; p = 0.025) and were more likely to receive outpatient intravenous fluids (25% vs 6%; p = 0.008), they had similar overall hospital readmissions (20.4% vs 19.6%; p = 1.0), readmissions for dehydration (8.2% vs 5.9%; p = 0.71), and acute renal failure events (10.2% vs 3.9%; p = 0.26). Multivariable analysis found that weekend discharges to home were significantly associated with readmission (OR, 4.5 (95% CI, 1.2-16.9); p = 0.03). Direct costs and patient satisfaction were similar. LIMITATIONS: This study was limited by the heterogeneous patient population and by the potential effect of the intervention on providers taking care of patients randomly assigned to usual care. CONCLUSIONS: A surveillance strategy to ensure compliance with an ileostomy education program tracked patients more closely and was cost neutral, but did not result in decreased hospital readmissions compared with usual care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-370
Number of pages8
JournalDiseases of the colon and rectum
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019


  • Care transitions
  • Ileostomy
  • Postoperative complications
  • Postoperative dehydration
  • Readmission
  • Rehospitalization

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Video-Audio Media

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