60 percent of home health workers lack info for patient care, survey says

By Tauren Dyson   |   Feb. 25, 2019 at 3:30 PM
More than half of home health workers in Colorado don't have enough information to properly care for patients, according to a recent survey. Photo by Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Feb. 25 (UPI) -- More than half of home health workers don't have enough information to properly care for patients, according to a new survey in Colorado.

About 60 percent of home health care clinicians in Colorado say they do not receive enough information from hospitals to properly treat patients, according to a study published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association.

Additionally, 52 percent reported that patients' often expect impractical services as part of care, including housekeeping, transportation and extended hours.

"We have heard of medication errors occurring between hospitals and home health care providers," the study's lead author Christine D. Jones, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and study author, said in a news release. "As a result, patients can receive the wrong medication or the wrong dose. Some home health providers don't get accurate information about how long to leave a urinary catheter or intravenous line in."

The home health care workers also reported that more than half of patients didn't receive proper preparation from the hospital for what to expect after discharge.

"Although almost all -- 96 percent -- indicated that Internet-based access to a patient's hospital record would be at least somewhat useful," Jones said. "Fewer than half reported having access to EHRs for referring hospitals or clinics."

The good news is that home care workers who accessed electronic health records -- including notes, orders, lab and radiology results and referrals -- had more information to provide patients with better treatment.

Overall, about 12 percent say they had positive experiences after accessing the Colorado Regional Health Information Organization for hospital admissions data.

"For hospitals and HHC agencies seeking strategies to improve communication, this study can provide targets for improvement," Jones said. "Future interventions to improve communication between the hospital and HHC should aim to improve preparation of patients and caregivers to ensure they know what to expect from HHC and to provide access to EHR information for HHC agencies."

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