Following a hospitalization for an illness or injury, one in five patients need additional health care services for their recovery, typically in a nursing home or rehabilitation facility, through outpatient therapy, or at home. For patients and their families, however, choosing where to seek post-hospital care can be among the hardest decisions they have to make. Although there may be resources available, many patients aren’t aware of their options or feel rushed in their decisionmaking.
A new report by the United Hospital Fund (UHF), supported by NYSHealth, is the final installment in UHF’s four-part “Difficult Decisions” series, based on a yearlong inquiry to better understand why hospital discharge planning can fall short despite well-intentioned efforts by hospital staff. The new report explores how fragmented care settings and payment systems, unclear regulations, and information gaps all play a role in limiting the guidance hospital staff can provide patients and their families in arranging post-acute care. It also outlines strategies for change in six key areas: engaging patients and families; improving discharge planning; bridging health system silos; addressing regulatory and payment policy barriers; enhancing public information and transparency; and increasing public awareness.
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