Ensuring a Smooth Transition from Hospital to Home
You’ve been in the hospital for either a planned or unplanned visit, and now it’s time to make the transition home. It’s so easy to become overwhelmed by what you’ll need to do, and simultaneously you’re probably learning all the new things you’ll have to do for ongoing care.
A hospital discharge is the process of moving a patient back into the community. Whether the patient returns home or goes to a different health-care facility, it’s important to plan ahead and make the transition as safe and smooth as possible.
Patients are discharged from the hospital when they no longer need such a high level of care. Healing at home tends to be more comfortable and restful, patients can move more freely in a familiar environment, and the risk of infection is much lower. At home, you and your family members can also discuss long-term plans in a calm setting and at your own pace. With careful planning, patients should have all the in-home supports they need.
Currently, 30% of patients in Alberta experience a gap in care during their transition from hospital to home. Gaps in care can result in accelerated progression of an illness, hospital readmissions, and expensive health system costs. Evidence shows that we can help reduce readmissions, length of hospital stays and emergency department encounters with proper transition planning coordinated through the patient’s journey.
The home is an unstructured, unsupervised setting. More than in any other setting, the patient has a high degree of accountability. If patients will require help from caregivers or services from community organizations, those needs must be assessed and explained to them before they walk out the hospital doors. Sending someone from a care facility such as a hospital, where around-the-clock monitoring is prevalent, to an environment where little or no interaction occurs requires advance planning to ensure the transition is smooth and safe.
Some things to consider include:
- The mobility of the patient
- Medical conditions that may need monitoring
- Optimal nutrition
- Medications and a schedule
- Appointments with doctors / other health care providers
Successful transitions help eliminate returns to the hospital which are common when transitions are not well planned. Hiring a home health care provider can ensure the smoothest transition for patients of any age being discharged from the hospital. Get in touch to get a custom home-care quote for your individual needs.