What is Transitional Care?

As we age, life gives us beautiful memories and new reasons to celebrate, but aging also brings something else to our lives–a growing need for medical care. Healthcare and home healthcare services are as unique as we are, and many people inevitably find themselves transitioning between various healthcare services. When moving from a hospital stay to senior home healthcare, there is a lot to consider. Transitional care is an approach to care that aims to fill in the gaps so everyone can receive exactly what they need. Let’s explore what transitional care is and the value it can bring to families and care groups.

Your Simplified Guide to Transitional Care

Understanding the key elements of transitional care can help those involved approach this type of care with success.

What Do We Consider Transitional Care?

The type of care that a person needs often comes down to their circumstances. Transitional care, also commonly known as Transitional Care Management (TCM), is a type of care that focuses on instances where a patient is transitioning from one care environment to another. With this specialized focus, professionals and caregivers can work together to provide a seamless transition that will support the health of the individual. The term “transitional care” is actually fairly broad, allowing it to look differently depending on the people involved. Transitional care may occur when transitioning from a hospital stay to standard home care services or to senior home healthcare. It can even occur after someone has an accident. At the end of the day, transitional care is about ensuring that the individual receives the care and support they need as they transition to a new environment.

Core Elements of Transitional Care

Providing a comfortable transition that supports the health and well-being of an individual involves quite a few moving pieces. Since the primary goal of transitional care is to provide a comfortable transition and successful ongoing care, it is important to have the right people and processes involved. Initially, transitional care will focus on understanding the transition itself. This means recognizing where the individual is, where they are going, and what the move will entail. By taking time to understand what the transition requires, healthcare workers and caregivers can simplify the process and make accommodations as needed. Education is another core pillar of transitional care. This involves healthcare experts at the current location, as well as the individuals who will be taking over the care process. Whether this means medical professionals educating other medical professionals or family, it is a very important step. This knowledge transition will improve the comfort of the individual. More importantly, it will support their ongoing quality of care. With transitional care, knowledge can save lives. With 56% of all medication errors occurring during transitional care, effective education is crucial. Common Education Considerations Include:
  • Daily routines
  • Understanding medications and schedules
  • Recognizing indicators of health concerns
  • Addressing common health concerns
  • Technical processes that may be involved with care
As a final consideration for transitional care, care teams on both sides will often focus on the individual’s emotional well-being. Those in transitional care are generally facing challenges that may require extra sensitivity and support.

Who is Impacted by Transitional Care?

Although transitional care is most commonly seen among adults and seniors, the reality is that transitional care can impact individuals of any age and their families. This form of care can apply to anyone who is transitioning from one care environment to another, and there is quite a bit of variety among those who receive it. Transitional Care is Ideal For:
  • Senior home healthcare candidates
  • Chronically ill individuals participating in home care services
  • Individuals who require long-term care
  • People who are entering new stages in their care process

What Locations Are Commonly Associated With Transitional Care?

Since transitional care is focused on the transition from one environment to another, it should come as no surprise that there are many locations to consider. By definition, transitional care can apply to any two or more environments where an individual will be receiving care. However, there are several common locations that come up during transitional care discussions. Common Locations for Transitional Care Include:
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Inpatient treatment centers
  • Care across hospital departments
  • Homes and other family-oriented environments

What Makes Transitional Care Important?

Transitional care is a matter of both comfort and health. The work that goes into this care can influence how an individual feels, their stress levels, how they heal, and their health as a whole. For this reason and many more, it is essential for everyone involved to focus on providing exceptional transitional care. In fact, transitional care can reduce hospital readmission odds by as much as 86.6%.

What Are the Benefits of Transitional Care?

Effective transitional care can come with many exceptional benefits for individuals as they transition. When the team that is handing off the individual and the team that is receiving them work together, patients have a lot to gain. Some Benefits for Patients Include:
  • Consistent and reliable care
  • Greater overall support
  • Less stress throughout the process
  • A better environment for health and healing
  • An improved sense of trust with those around them
Although patients have plenty to gain, caregivers also greatly benefit from transitional care. Through education and planning, everyone involved can feel more at peace with the process. Some Benefits for Caregivers Include:
  • Education and understanding
  • Less anxiety surrounding caregiving processes
  • More confidence in the ability to provide effective care
  • Better outcomes that align with health goals for the individual

How Can We Simplify Transitional Care?

Three factors can greatly influence transitional care for everyone involved—education, planning, and communication. Education simplifies the process by keeping everyone informed and building comfort around essential processes. This helps to support every component of transitional care. Planning is a wonderful way to reduce stress and improve comfort levels throughout the transitional care process. With a plan in place, everyone will know their role and the expected outcomes. Communication is essential for keeping everyone on the same page throughout this process. This includes the existing care team, the individual, and the future care team as well. Through active communication, everyone can work together for the best possible outcome. Navigating the transition from inpatient treatment to senior home healthcare takes care and patience. As long as everyone involved shares important information and stays connected, this specialized focus on care can bring countless benefits. To learn more about how seniors can receive exceptional support through home healthcare services, contact us today for a free consultation!