"Hospital to Home" Program Improves Care for Patients
January 13, 2006
A four-year grant is improving the ability of residents at Highland Hospital to care for seniors after they leave the hospital.
According to Robert McCann, M.D., chair of the department of medicine at Highland Hospital, the four-year, $2.4 million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is providing an invaluable experience for medical residents.
"Medical residents discharge hundreds of patients each year but they have no idea what happens to the patients after they leave the hospital. Are they taking their medications? Do they know how their oxygen tanks work? What kind of social support do they have? These are all very important questions," Dr. McCann said.
The "Hospital to Home" program videotapes residents while they are doing an exam with a geriatric patient at Highland's Acute Care for Elders Unit. The residents walk with the patient, check the mental status of the patient, go over their medications and ask questions about how the patient will be getting around in their home. Four days after the patient's discharge, the resident again interviews the patient and is videotaped, although this time they are in the patient’s home.
"This is an invaluable learning tool for the residents because they are seeing the patient in an entirely different environment. The residents can see first-hand how the patient is getting around their home, if there are any obstacles to getting around in the house and to see how they are doing with their medications and rehabilitation," Dr. McCann said.
The videotapes of the residents are later shown to other residents. The invaluable learning tool provides the residents with the unique opportunity to see the patients in both the hospital and in their home. Residents learn about the possible obstacles to their patient's care and can ask the right questions when the patients are still in the hospital, Dr. McCann explains.
"The videotaping provides a shared learning experience for our residents and ultimately it will improve the care we provide to our patients," Dr. McCann said.