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STUDY: Poor Home Care Leads to Emergency Hospital Stays in England

August 23, 2012

Improving home care in England could help reduce the number of emergency overnight hospitalizations by up to 2.3 million per year, a study found.

Published by the King’s Fund, a London-based think tank that analyzes the British healthcare system, the study showed that substandard home and community-based care was one of several factors that led to high rates of emergency hospital admissions among elders in certain areas.

Such admissions can be “a disruptive and unsettling experience, particularly for older people, exposing them to new clinical and psychological risks and increasing their dependency,” the study notes.

Jo Webber, the deputy director of policy at the National Health Service (NHS) Confederation, told the Telegraph, “We know in many cases hospital may not be the best place for older people. They can often receive more appropriate and tailored care in their own homes and in community settings.”

The study also found that poor care coordination could contribute to excessively long hospitalizations.

Areas with high hospitalization rates “tended to have excessive lengths of stay for patients in transition between home and supported care, suggesting [that] community, primary, and acute provider services are poorly integrated,” according to a King’s Fund press release.

Need for Care Coordination

“Among other things, this study shows that clearly articulated care coordination plans can reduce hospitalization rates — in the United States as well as in England,” said PHI National Policy Director Steve Edelstein.

“With the right training, direct-care workers can and should play a key role in keeping clients healthy and at home. Through their intimate connections with consumers, direct-care workers are uniquely positioned to both improve health care while boosting the effectiveness of the entire care-coordination team,” Edelstein added.

The report further found that areas with high emergency hospitalization rates had lower satisfaction scores for home care.

– by Matthew Ozga

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