United Hospital Fund and New York State Health Foundation Release New Report: Difficult Decisions About Post-Acute Care and Why They Matter
As hospital stays shorten, continued care following hospitalization is now a common part of recovery for many patients who undergo major surgery or experience serious illness. Each year, approximately one in five hospital patients in the United States, including some 300,000 New Yorkers, require such care—in rehabilitation centers, in nursing homes, at home, or in their communities. Yet too often, patients and their families do not have the critical information and support they need to carefully assess their options and make the best possible decisions.
United Hospital Fund (UHF) conducted a year-long inquiry, supported by the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth), to better understand why hospital discharge planning can fall short despite well-intentioned efforts by hospital staff, and today released the first in a series of reports based on that work. The report, Difficult Decisions About Post-Acute Care and Why They Matter, spotlights the many factors that can hinder informed decision-making and limit care choices.
The stakes are high—patients who receive care from lower-quality providers have higher rates of complications and worse outcomes. But patients and family caregivers may not be aware that quality of care varies, and they must choose a provider when they are stressed and under pressure. While most patients and families ask their care team for help with decision-making, many discharge planners will not offer direct advice because of concerns about complying with federal regulations that limit hospitals from recommending specific providers.