Lost in the Wilderness
Poor Communication Between Home Health, Doctors Leaves Patients ‘Lost in the Wilderness’
By Robert Holly | June 20, 2018
Despite ongoing efforts to provide seamless transitions of care, patients’ journeys from hospital to home still remain full of gaps. Persistent, systemic lapses in communication between doctors, home health providers and patients may be largely to blame.
Continuity in care, when achieved, gives patients greater confidence, engagement and trust in the overall medical care being provided, research has shown. It’s a point that the home health industry and, more broadly, the U.S. health care sector has repeatedly worked to strengthen over the past several years through targeted acquisitions, strategic partnerships and the creation of special positions, such as the transition of care coach.
When transitions don’t go smoothly, the likelihood of re-hospitalizations goes up and patients’ perception of care quality, unsurprisingly, goes way down.
“We’ve been working at this for a very long time, trying to improve transitions of care,” Suzanne Mitchell, assistant professor of family medicine and palliative care at Boston Medical Center, told Home Health Care News. “Even though we’ve done a lot to try to improve our systems of care, for patients and [their family caregivers], things still look the same, and they still feel hazardous, unsafe and transactional in a lot of situations.”
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