Hospital Discharge Planners Need More Information When Referring Patients to Home Health Care: Insights From the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic.
Hospital discharge planners play an important role in helping patients choose appropriate home health care. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, they may not have had enough information to make the best decisions for their patients. A study of 58 discharge planners from Michigan hospitals found that 90% of them wanted information about the quality of home health agencies and whether they were prepared for COVID-19. However, only about 20% had this information readily available. The study also found that discharge planners varied in how they incorporated quality information. Some did not incorporate any quality information at all, while others provided it to patients without explaining its significance. Only about 25% of discharge planners helped patients interpret different sources of information. These findings suggest that hospital discharge planners had an unmet need for quality information, and they also provided limited assistance to patients. This may have led to some patients receiving suboptimal care. Thus, we proposed that hospital discharge planners need more information about the quality of home health agencies. Discharge planners should be more transparent about the quality of information they have, and they should help patients interpret it.