Transitional Care | A Value-added Post-hospitalization Care

After a medical procedure or hospitalization, the words we look forward to hearing most are, “Here are your discharge papers – you are free to head home now!” What a sense of relief is there in coming through the front door, sinking into a favourite chair, and unwinding.

Once the patient is out of surgery; all the loved ones wish to take them back to their “comfort” zone but would it be the safe zone too? Sometimes it is very difficult for a family to fulfil the medical needs of at-home patients. Unknowingly, the care-giving loved ones may hamper their own health, which will in turn affect the patient’s health too.

Transition care is the care given to a patient after hospital treatment and before a patient goes back home. Transitional care encompasses a broad range of services and environments designed to promote the safe and timely passage of patients between levels of health care and across care settings.

Successful transition from hospital to home for persons having multiple chronic illnesses is vital for improved health and reduction of hospital readmissions. Transitional care encompasses a broad range of services and environments designed to promote the safe and timely passage of patients between levels of health care and across care settings. This transition in some cases are critical for complete recovery and needs proper care.

For older adults who live alone, and even for anyone with family support, it can be intimidating to sort through all the post-hospitalization instructions, pick up prescriptions, make follow-up appointments, adjust to any needed dietary or lifestyle changes, and so much more.

Services like Transitional care are the need of the hour as they reduce the load on hospitals and simultaneously provide a patient with a medically equipped home-like setting for long recovery periods. Long term care at a hospital or a home can also be financially draining. This is also one of the advantages of a transitional care centre due to its affordable nature. Stroke patients require hospital care for the first 2-7 days. Post the above intensive treatment and investigations are over, they can be cared for in a transitional care centre, until they have sufficiently recovered to be taken home from the facility. In stark contrast to transition care, home healthcare doesn’t offer sustained medical support and instead provides care for mono-disciplinary requirements with minimal continued supervision and support of rehabilitation equipment.

There would be a higher possibility for the patient to be affected either physically or emotionally after surgery. To prevent any recurrence of serious disease or infection the nurses monitor vital signs, airway patency, and neurological status from time to time. Advance care planning is an essential element of transitional care. It is necessary to ensure that patients understand their medications and empower the caregivers with the knowledge to achieve their healthcare goals and manage the diseases.

It’s believed that along with medical care a patient’s recovery process is enhanced by the surrounding environment. A transitional care centre is generally designed keeping the above in mind. These centres also encourage family meetings and family members staying with patients for reasonable time periods.

Most of the critical / surgical illnesses are sudden and unanticipated and therefore requires the intervention of a tertiary care facility to manage the condition and stabilize health. Transition care at affordable rates becomes the most viable solution for patients for long-term recovery. Choosing a transitional care facility after a hospital stay can have many benefits to a patient’s overall recovery. Also, families whose children are settled abroad could be benefactors of such inpatient transitional care and rehabilitation centers.

Transitional care in India is a need to address the growing demand of quality health care and changing social fabric. It’s an opportunity to fill the unmet need and create a new facet of holistic healthcare delivery model which completes the care continuum.

Indian healthcare industry is witnessing phenomenal change through the reinvention of care models, to move healthcare closer to the patient. Transitional care is a 34 billion dollar market in the US with around 7% of the overall health expenditure being spent on it. But in India, transitional care is at an incipient stage, gradually taking wings. With the growing population, rising urbanization and life expectancy, there is immense scope for enhancing healthcare services penetration in India, thus presenting ample opportunity for development of the transition care industry.

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