Elisabeth Schainker, MD, MSc
Making the referral and navigating “A Whole New World” of care
By describing different types of post-acute care clinical services, Dr. Schainker empowered the HM18 audience to rethink how to best identify patients and conditions appropriate for transitions of care, from short-term acute care environments to long-term acute care places, inpatient rehabs, or skilled nursing facilities.
With increasing numbers of pediatric patients with medical complexity, who are dependent on technology devices and complicated care needs, hospitalists need to be knowledgeable about the rules of engagement for prolonged or enhanced recoveries, families’ needs, and insurance qualifications. The role of the hospitalist is to make sure that things are in place for safe and successful discharges, keeping in mind patients’ complexity, resources available within family and community, and fair assessments of readmission risks.
Whether rehab needs pertain to pulmonary, medical, or post NICU stays – length of stay averaging 70-80 days – hospitalists still need to ensure that patients have a clear potential to do better and transition to home eventually. There are inadequate numbers of such pediatric post-acute care facilities, 36 hospitals to be precise. Franciscan Children’s, where Dr. Schainker practices, was beautifully represented in a short movie played during the session at the annual meeting of the Society of Hospital Medicine. The protagonists in the movie were children: Mae and Luke.
Key takeaways for HM
1. Knowledge: Post-acute care services facilitate safe discharges of complex medical patients that eventually get home.
2. Attitude: Hospitalists need to identify what would benefit their patients and counsel families, as well as make proper and timely referrals.
3. Behavior: Hospitalists should be familiar with local resources and engage with available providers of post-acute care services.
Dr. Giordano is a pediatric neurosurgery hospitalist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York.