Patients, Caregivers Blame Themselves and Each Other for Home-Based Care Lapses

May 23, 2023 by TWN Staff
Patients, Caregivers Blame Themselves and Each Other for Home-Based Care Lapses
(Photo via Pixabay)

NEW YORK — “Broken” home-based health care experiences are causing avoidable hospital readmissions, exacting worrisome financial and psychological tolls on patients and caregivers alike, a new survey by Tomorrow Health has found.

According to the American Hospital Association, 35 million Americans were hospitalized in 2022, with at least to two-thirds discharged to home care.

The release said 20% of discharged patients get readmitted to the hospital, and many cite medical supply complications or delays as a contributing factor. 

It went on to say, “more than a third of home-discharged patients transition to higher-cost settings over the course of the following year. These avoidable readmissions take a financial and mental toll on patients.”

While “health insurers have built care teams to manage home-based patients coordinating in-home support, nutrition services, transportation to appointments and the delivery of lifesaving medical equipment,” the survey found “patients and caregivers are overwhelmed and stressed. Both groups equally (31%) blame each other when there is a delay in receiving lifesaving medical equipment.”

The survey also found that many patients are left in the dark, unaware of any coordinated assistance services made available by their health insurers.

A large majority (77%) of the patients also reported that they are the primary contact for their medical suppliers. The survey disclosed that 59% of patients received unreliable or poor-quality medical supplies and equipment.

The release went on to say 60% of caregivers had experienced delays or disruptions that kept their patients from receiving medical equipment or supplies. Fifty-eight percent of caregivers surveyed said receiving unreliable or poor-quality medical supplies has negatively impacted either their lives or the lives of their patients.

“Although initiatives like the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Biden administration’s recent executive order provide some hope, challenges remain. Addressing care transitions, care coordination, social isolation, physical and emotional strain, and financial distress will require innovative regulation, technology and services,” the release stated.

“The time is now for leaders across the health care ecosystem to recognize the vital role that caregivers play and to invest in enabling and supporting them,” said Vijay Kedar, co-founder and CEO of Tomorrow Health, in a written statement. “From clinical teams actively engaging caregivers as members of the care team to health plans providing solutions to augment caregiver efforts to manage and coordinate home-based care, increased awareness and investment will reduce caregiver burnout and improve patient outcomes.”

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