Post-Acute Care And Communication

Post-Acute Care And Communication

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An older patient with multiple existing health issues had a stroke and the family rushed him to the hospital. The dedicated hospital staff of doctors and nurses attends to him, stabilizing his condition by administering Thrombolysis – “clot buster” medicine and discharging the patient.  Congratulations on a job well done. But, is the job really done?

The journey is long and complicated from here on to the point where the patient can return near their pre-stroke baseline and the other medical issues are stabilized.

Effective communication is imperative to the ‘job well done’ in this phase of post-acute care. In the domain of post-acute care, communication rises above a mere transfer of information; it serves as a vital support toward the patient’s complete well-being.

Defined Documentation

On discharge, the need for comprehensive data on the patient is as important as the treatment being given itself. Contrary to the typical hospital’s confined scope and limited team the recently discharged patient is going to be attended by a diverse and dispersed care team. So, communicating real-time comprehensive patient data can mitigate setbacks during and post patient discharge.

Care Continuity Patient and Family Engagement

In post-acute care, the patient and their family must be provided the health and care details to assure recovery and continuity of care. What medications are required, how many follow-ups and expected appointment timing with the clinicians, and so on, must be shared and available for review, especially since a hospitalization can. And, it goes without saying that a well-informed person can be proactive about his health and wellness strategies.

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Communication develops a sense of trust between the patient and provider, which brings the element of trust into the patient-provider equation that is instrumental in making the patients adhere to a provider’s recommendations. In fact, this trust can result in several key long-term benefits like fewer patient visits, reduced costs, and improved patient outcomes.

Is Family Engagement Important?

Copious data shows that a well-informed family’s involvement in post-acute care affects healthcare positively. And involvement has never been easier based on the technology available today.

  • According to Statista, 91.8% of the U.S. population uses the internet.
  • 85% own a smartphone, that’s a 35% rise in a 2021 study by Pew Research Center.
  • Also, 15% of American adults exclusively use their smartphone to access the internet.
  • A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) survey revealed that nearly one in four patients used telehealth services
  • Now here’s the punch line; In 2020, around 60% of Americans were granted online access to their health information, and about 40% of these individuals benefitted. 

Technology Now Fully Integrated in Healthcare

The above statistics also point towards the fact that technology integration in healthcare now provides significant leverage in health outcomes. Innovative technology can enhance the accuracy of communication/information that can provide patient safety and prevent errors, misdiagnosis, inappropriate treatment, and poor care outcomes that can result in rehospitalization and ER visits.

A Plethora of Portals Requires a Simple Solution 

In the post-acute care phase the transfer of information aka ‘communication’ takes a higher ground as there are going to be diverse and widely dispersed care teams, from different organizations as well. So the means of communication is of importance too. There have been phone calls, text messages, faxes, and pages and in the 1960s EHR was introduced.

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But time has proven again and again, all of these have been lacking in one way or another. As a result, this presents a low quality of care and financial burden across every level.

However, there is optimism for the positive impact of artificial intelligence in applications like This HIPAA-compliant text messaging app has a unique feature of ‘one patient one channel’ where improved communication supports a patient-centered approach throughout the care continuum. Healthcare providers benefit from patient risk priority visible in real-time for transparency & accountability. Moreover, enables smart notifications to minimize noise and maximize signal. In addition, tracking via analytics assists in addressing diverse care needs by helping prioritize the right care for the right patient.

Communication Among Interdisciplinary Team Members

It’s often the case that a patient needs to stay at a skilled nursing facility or a rehabilitation center for a short while, and after the clinician’s approval moves back to home, where he will need home health care. At this point, clear data and a care plan are the most important aspects of patient outcomes. The care team must know precisely their roles and responsibilities towards the patient.

A seamless flow of communication, among the care collaborators in post-acute care defines the patient outcome. If the medication is late, the patient will be tired or drowsy when the physiotherapist arrives. The depressed state of mind of the patient can hinder his rehabilitation, the clinician needs to be informed so he can adjust the medication.

The facet of greater job satisfaction and reduced risk of burnout is a win-win that comes as the result of better patient outcomes because of effective communication. Post-acute care eats up 97% of Medicare expenses. This horrific figure can also be brought down by effective communication.

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In the intricate modes of post-acute care, effective communication isn’t merely a choice or a tool; it’s the ethical imperative to deliver patient-centered care.

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