Lack of patient information is a particular problem when a patient is transferred from one health care facility to another. The lack of information needed to develop a timely and effective plan of care for an older adult transferred to the nursing home facility may exacerbate disruptions in the older adult's care. Also, adjustment or readjustment to the nursing home or hospital environment may be prolonged. Persistence of problems or difficulty in adjustment may then lead to exacerbation of the disease processes and, ultimately, hospital readmissions. Evidence suggests that elderly patients discharged from the hospital have high readmission rates. Although the patient is most affected by a breakdown in communication, everyone in the nursing home involved in the resident's care is also affected. All staff who provide care to the resident, including nursing, medicine, nutrition, pharmacy, social work, and physical therapy staff members, must be cognizant of issues related to communication for patients being transferred. In this article, the authors discuss the development, implementation, and results of a model designed to increase the communication surrounding the transition of elderly patients from an inpatient unit to and from nursing homes.
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