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Gaps in Hospital and Skilled Nursing Facility Responsibilities During Transitions of Care: a Comparison of Hospital and SNF Clinicians' Perspectives.

Valverde PA, Ayele R, Leonard C, Cumbler E, Allyn R, Burke RE. Gaps in Hospital and Skilled Nursing Facility Responsibilities During Transitions of Care: a Comparison of Hospital and SNF Clinicians' Perspectives. Journal of general internal medicine. 2021 Aug 1; 36(8):2251-2258.

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BACKGROUND: Adverse outcomes are common in transitions from hospital to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). Gaps in transitional care processes contribute to these outcomes, but it is unclear whether hospital and SNF clinicians have the same perception about who is responsible for filling these gaps in care transitions. OBJECTIVE: We sought to understand the perspectives of hospital and SNF clinicians on their roles and responsibilities in transitional care processes, to identify areas of congruence and gaps that could be addressed to improve transitions. DESIGN: Semi-structured interviews with interdisciplinary hospital and SNF providers. PARTICIPANTS: Forty-one clinicians across 3 hospitals and 3 SNFs including nurses (8), social workers (7), physicians (8), physical and occupational therapists (12), and other staff (6). APPROACH: Using team-based approach to deductive analysis, we mapped responses to the 10 domains of the Ideal Transitions of Care Framework (ITCF) to identify areas of agreement and gaps between hospitals and SNFs. KEY RESULTS: Although both clinician groups had similar conceptions of an ideal transitions of care, their perspectives included significant gaps in responsibilities in 8 of the 10 domains of ITCF, including Discharge Planning; Complete Communication of Information; Availability, Timeliness, Clarity and Organization of Information; Medication Safety; Educating Patients to Promote Self-Management; Enlisting Help of Social and Community Supports; Coordinating Care Among Team Members; and Managing Symptoms After Discharge. CONCLUSIONS: As hospitals and SNFs increasingly are held jointly responsible for the outcomes of patients transitioning between them, clarity in roles and responsibilities between hospital and SNF staff are needed. Improving transitions of care may require site-level efforts, joint hospital-SNF initiatives, and national financial, regulatory, and technological fixes. In the meantime, building effective hospital-SNF partnerships is increasingly important to delivering high-quality care to a vulnerable older adult population.

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