Why Hospitals Should Pay More Attention to How Patients are Discharged


When older adults who are critically ill frequently move between the hospital and other settings, compassion from physicians during care transitions can go a long way, a study examining patients’ and caregivers’ experiences with these transitions found, according to Kaiser Health News.

This kind of caring is what older adults want after becoming seriously ill and having to move between care settings, but hospitals often don’t meet these expectations, despite strategies to cut preventable readmissions, Kaiser Health News reports.

Dr. Suzanne Mitchell is part of a team of experts leading Project ACHIEVE, a five-year, $15 million study examining how effective interventions to improve care transitions are. The project focuses on what Medicare patients and caregivers need and want after they return home from a hospital stay.

The project involves asking people undergoing care transitions about their experiences, including what went well and what didn’t. Results from a survey of over 9,000 patients and 3,000 caregivers will be published this fall.

Project ACHIEVE found several areas for improvement from people who participated in focus groups and in-depth interviews, such as physicians addressing what patients really want to know by giving actionable information, health professionals making simple gestures to show patients they care about their well-being and collaborative planning.

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