Care Transitions: From Assisted Living to the ER and Back Again

By Michelle Seitzer / Posted on 12 October 2012

Your mother has an apartment in assisted living. You get a call in the middle of the night that she fell and may have fractured her hip. They need to send her to the emergency room. You get dressed and meet your mother in the hospital ER. The doctors confirm that her hip is broken; she may need to use a wheelchair or walker upon her return to assisted living, if she is well enough to return.

Care transitions. They happen all the time. The above is just one common scenario, but nursing home residents, assisted living residents, and even seniors who live at home with a caregiver or on their own are experiencing these transitions more frequently than ever.

A recent policy brief from HealthAffairs.org, Improving Care Transitions, referred to the 2001 Institute of Medicine report that examined “the factors contributing to poor care transitions.” The policy brief outlines the “root causes of poor care coordination, the elements of effective approaches to improving patient and family experience with transitions” and “policy issues surrounding payment reforms” as a means of addressing, and ultimately resolving, the problem. Also covered in the brief are provisions within the Affordable Care Act related to care transitions.

Read the full policy brief here.

Your turn: Have you experienced care transitions in your family? What was the most difficult aspect?



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