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Patients and caregivers speak out on care transitions


  • Chantal Backman, PhD, and her team interviewed a group of eight patients and caregivers to gather perspectives on the transition from hospital to home
  • Participants in the study were between 69 and 93 years old
  • The group cited communication and partnership as the dominant areas needing improvement during transition

In a study by Chantal Backman, PhD, patients and caregivers spoke out on their experiences during transitions from hospital to home. They cited the importance of fostering effective communication and partnership during this vulnerable time in a patient’s care.

“Care transitions are an area where there is a lot of risk for the patient,” explains Backman. “They can lead to fragmented care, decreased quality of care, and can ultimately drive up healthcare costs.”

The goal of Backman’s study was to include patients and caregivers in the discussion on how to improve care transitions—particularly discharges from hospital. The researchers conducted eight one-on-one interviews with caregivers and patients who went through the discharge process.

The participants in the study explained that, when planning the discharge process with their respective health teams, communication was open and inclusive. Things became difficult, however, once they began executing the plan.

During hospital-to-home transitions, participants found that there was a lack of communication on topics ranging from specialist referrals to the patient’s actual discharge date.

The majority of participants in the study also found that a gap in communication remained well after a patient was discharged. Caregivers in particular felt unprepared to take care of their loved one after the patient left the hospital’s care. Caregivers also pointed out a general lack of access to resources post-discharge, such as written information about the condition of the patient.

The study participants suggested that a central point of contact, such as a care coordinator would make it easier to ensure that patients meet all of their requirements before discharge, as well as act as point of contact for the patient’s care team post-discharge.

For these patients and caregivers, the gaps in communication mean there should be more emphasis on family and patient involvement in the hospital to home transition process.

The full study is currently available on DovePress.