One health care facility is trying to reduce the re-admission rate of patients who may need home care services following hospitalization.
Rush University Medical Center has implemented a program for the past two years that uses the facility's social workers to help coordinate services and follow-up care for older patients who have been discharged.
Employees who work with the elderly have found that although the former patients are contacted within two days of leaving the hospital, it can be a struggle for the seniors to schedule follow-up appointments or make travel arrangements to see their doctors.
In spite of that, the research suggests that using social care rather than nurses has helped to increase the utilization of community resources.
"Patients who have been enrolled in our enhanced discharge planning program over the last two years are extremely pleased with the service," said Robyn Golden, the hospital's director of older adult programs.
Golden says that a randomized study may provide evidence of quantitative benefits as well, in addition to anecdotal evidence from the senior citizens.