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Studies show that home visits to patients recently discharged from the hospital can help prevent unnecessary readmission.1 Providing continuing care instructions to patients in their homes—where they may be less overwhelmed than in the hospital—may also be a key mechanism for preventing readmission.2 Home visit clinicians and technicians can note any health concerns in the home environment and help patients understand their care plan in the context of that environment.2

A 77-year-old man was diagnosed with a rectal mass. After discussing goals of care with an oncologist, he declined surgical intervention and underwent targeted radiotherapy before being lost to follow up. The patient subsequently presented to Emergency Department after a fall at home and was found to have new metastatic lesions in both lungs and numerous enhancing lesions in the brain. Further discussions of the goals of care revealed that the patient desired to focus on comfort and on maintaining independence for as long as possible. The inpatient hospice team discussed the potential role

Trost SL, Beauregard JL, Smoots AN, et al. Health Aff (Millwood). 2021;40:1551-1559.
Missed diagnosis of mental health conditions can lead to serious adverse outcomes. Researchers evaluated data from 2008 to 2017 from 14 state Maternal Mortality Review Committees and found that 11% of pregnancy-related deaths were due to mental health conditions. A substantial proportion of people with a pregnancy-related mental health cause of death had a history of depression or past/current substance use. Researchers conclude that addressing gaps maternal mental health care is essential to improving maternal safety.

Farnborough, UK: Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; September 9, 2021.

In-depth failure investigations provide improvement insights for individuals and organizations alike. This report analyzes a collection of UK National Health Service incident examinations and provides recommendations for improvement on themes related to care transitions and access, decision making, communication, and point-of-care activity.

ECHO-Care Transitions (ECHO-CT) intends to ensure continuity of care and alleviate the risk of patient safety issues, notably medication errors, occurring because of hospital transition. With funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) adapted Project Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) to connect receiving multidisciplinary skilled nursing facility (SNF) teams with a multidisciplinary team at the discharging hospital.

Russ-Jara AL, Luckhurst CL, Dismore RA, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2021;36:2212-2220.
Resolving medication errors often requires coordination between different care providers. This qualitative study examined medication safety incidents at one VA hospital and found that health care providers rely on cognitive decentering, collaborative decision-making, back-up behaviors, and contingency planning to coordinate care during medication safety incidents. The primary barriers to care coordination identified were role ambiguity, breakdowns in care, and electronic health record-related challenges.

Washington, DC: Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General. January 5, 2021. Report No. 20-01521-48.

 

This investigation examined care coordination, screening and other factors that contributed to a patient death by suicide shortly after discharge from a Veteran’s Hospital. Event reporting, disclosure and evaluation gaps were identified as process weaknesses to be addressed. 
Wiley KK, Hilts KE, Ancker JS, et al. JAMIA Open. 2020;3:611-618.
Optimal use of health information exchange approaches such as event notification systems may be influenced by organizational capabilities. This study found that healthcare organizations whose positive perceptions of event alerts fit within existing workflows were more likely to use event notification services to improve care coordination and care quality.

After a failed induction at 36 weeks, a 26-year-old woman underwent cesarean delivery which was complicated by significant postpartum hemorrhage. The next day, the patient complained of severe perineal and abdominal pain, which the obstetric team attributed to prolonged pushing during labor. The team was primarily concerned about hypotension, which was thought to be due to hypovolemia from peri-operative blood loss. After several hours, the patient was transferred to the medical intensive care unit (ICU) with persistent hypotension and severe abdominal and perineal pain. She underwent surge

Lerner JE, Martin JI, Gorsky GS. Sex Res Social Pol. 2020;18:409-426.
This study used national survey data to examine avoidance of healthcare services among transgender, gender nonconforming, and non-binary people. Researchers found that nearly one quarter of respondents reported not seeking healthcare when necessary because they anticipated being disrespected or mistreated by healthcare professionals. Previous experience with certain discriminatory behavior such as invasive questions, refusal of care, verbal harassment, as well as cost and needing to educate providers, were strong predictors of healthcare avoidance.

Under a program known as the Care Transitions Intervention ®, a Transitions Coach ® encourages patients who are transferring from either a hospital or a short-term skilled nursing facility stay to home to assert a more active role in their self-care. The program has consistently reduced 30-day hospital readmissions and costs as well as 180-day hospital readmissions, even in heavily penetrated Medicare Advantage markets in which the reduction of hospital use has been an explicit focus for many years.

Sentinel Event Alert. 2006;35:1-4.
This alert emphasizes the importance of reconciling medications and supports implementation of this Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations' (JCAHO) National Patient Safety Goal. Note: This alert has been retired effective August 2016. Please refer to the information link below for further details.