Hospital discharge planning is a critical step in a patient’s recovery, but it’s often overlooked in Hong Kong’s increasingly strained medical system. How can hospitals work with home care service providers and provide better care to reduce hospital readmissions?
The efficacy of discharge arrangement and the quality of patients’ experience of discharge are critical markers for the quality of care. However, in Hong Kong’s overburdened health care system, discharge planning is either reduced to a last-minute exercise or winds up being overlooked.
Its implementation, too, has proven difficult in both public and private healthcare sectors. Patients too frail to be discharged or have caring issues will be engaged in more comprehensive discharge meetings, but with an average of 22 months to receive a subsidised residential care service, execution falls short of ideals. With an ageing population that is projected to double from about 60,000 in 2016 to 125,000 by 2051, service shortage will only prove more challenging to satisfy.
While staffing is often the source of this ‘bottleneck’ issue, it is important for patients to understand the steps and process of discharge planning. Asking the right questions, or understanding how the transition could help families will not only make external services more valuable, but also help patients and their loved one prepare themselves for changes that are to come. Here are a few examples on how in-home care service could help you and your family coordinate better post-discharge care:
Better coordination of care
A major limitation in the current discharge service lies in the fragmentation of health care provision. Multiple agents are involved in the supervision of one patient, making it difficult to coordinate a fully comprehensive discharge plan. Clear communication between healthcare professionals is the bedrock of post-discharge care.
Home care operators such as Evercare have a well-versed team of registered nurses, physiotherapists, personal care aides, occupational therapists, and nutrients. Operators can form a dedicated care team, working with the patient step-by-step to ensure that their needs and concerns are addressed.
Additional guidance in post-acute care
Education and knowledge are key to preventing readmission. However, health care personnel in public hospitals rarely have time to personalise plans and support patients and their families. Care professionals at Evercare train family caregivers and patients on risk diversion techniques, including appropriate ways to evaluate the home environment and monitor medication.
Extended support for elderly patients living alone
Discharge planning is particularly essential for old and frailing patients who lack the support network provided by close family and friends. According to a study, patients who live alone “had a substantial burden of dependency in very basic tasks,” and thus may require more intensive and regular support to maintain community living and improve in function after their hospital discharge.
Watch Ruby’s story to learn how home care services work and how we can support your family and your loved ones after a hospital stay. If you would like to learn more about Evercare’s post-discharge care services and how it can complement public health measures, give us a call at 3905 4000.