To the Editor:
Re "Hospitals Face Pressure to Avert Readmissions" (Nov. 27): Over the past three years, the United Hospital Fund has worked with more than 40 hospitals and other health care organizations in New York City to improve transitions in care settings. We found that a big part of the problem is inadequate communication with family caregivers.
Many of the most vulnerable patients rely on family, friends or others to help them manage at home after hospital discharge, yet the participating organizations initially lacked adequate procedures to identify these individuals or include them in discharge plans. Many hospital readmissions are related to medication errors, yet nearly all family caregivers had questions about medications.
By focusing on these aspects of post-discharge care, health care providers that tracked readmissions were able to reduce rates and plan smoother transitions.
The writer is director of the Families and Health Care Project at the United Hospital Fund.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.