Improving Care Continuity : The Effect Of Discharge Handoff Communication

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Improving Care Continuity: The Effect of Discharge Handoff Communication Currently, at Rutland Regional Medical Center (RRMC) there is no structured process for case management to provide handoff to the primary care offices when patients are discharged from the hospital. The transition of care from hospital to home is a critical time, during which the risk of adverse event occurrence is high. According to Shivji, Ramoutar, Bailey, & Hunter (2015), 19%-23% of patients experience an adverse event following discharge to home. Elderly patients are at greater risk due to functional and cognitive limitations; this is compounded by the presence of co-morbidities and multiple providers (Nelson, & Carrington, 2011). According to the Rutland County Health Assessment (2012-2015), by 2017 it is estimated that the elderly (age > 65) will comprise approximately 21.1% of the county’s population. Clear, concise, and timely communication with cooperative care providers at discharge is critical for the elderly population (Morris & Hoke, 2015). Furthermore, according to Lattimer (2011), the lack of cooperation between providers at discharge can endanger patients ' lives and waste fiscal and human resources. The purpose of this paper is to examine the problem of handoff communication to primary care offices and to plan a recommendation for change to provide a consistent and structured process; thereby ensuring the safety of the community during transitions of care. Review of Literature

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