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Kantaria T, Talag G, Fan J, Navarro F, Sonza P, Fears S, Yang C, Balsam J, Birman S, Lam M, Guze B, Raja P. Bridging the Acute-to-Outpatient Care Gap in Mental Health: Developing and Implementing a Mental Health Transition Process. Journal of nursing care quality. 2022 Jul 1; 37(3):218-224.
BACKGROUND: A national Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) mental health (MH) quality metric tracks engagement in outpatient MH care after discharge from residential and inpatient settings, with recommendations for 2 or more visits 30 days postdischarge. LOCAL PROBLEM: A gap in transitioning patients from residential to outpatient MH care was identified at this site. METHODS: A transition management process was developed and piloted, including a new MH Discharge Consult and an RN Transition Care Managers team. INTERVENTIONS: Transition Care Managers triaged Discharge Consults, communicated with schedulers and patients pre- and postdischarge, and tracked MH engagement for 30 days postdischarge. Process, outcome, and balancing measures were developed and iteratively adjusted using Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles. RESULTS: Over 55 weeks, 443 Discharge Consults were placed. There was an average 89% success rate in connecting patients with 2 or more MH visits versus 53% preintervention. CONCLUSIONS: This pilot showed promising results in improving postdischarge MH engagement with the use of PDSA cycles to collect data and refine processes.