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Poor Home Health, Doctor Communication Drives Readmissions

A recent study confirms what home health care agencies know all too well: gaps in communication between physicians and home health care providers are detrimental to seniors’ health and lead to hospital readmissions.

Many areas of care are disrupted by communication challenges, including disparities in medication lists, lack of clarity in who is responsible for writing patient care orders, inaccessible hospital records and resistance from clinicians to accept accountability, according to the study conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and published Wednesday in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

The researchers, led by Christine D. Jones, MD, MS, assistant professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, conducted six focus groups with home health care nurses from six different agencies in Colorado. The nurses were asked about their experience caring for patients after they have been discharged from a referring hospital. Some responded with frustration over the difficulty of reaching doctors.

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