Older Adults and their Experience with Interfacility Transfer
Interfacility transfers are an integral part of integrated systems of care in modern healthcare. Many transferred patients are older adults, a particularly vulnerable patient population. Unfortunately, interfacility transfers can result in discomfort during the transport, increased distance from family and home, a significant bill for the ambulance ride, and risk of an accident occurring during transport.
To better understand the experiences of older adults before, during, and after interfacility transfer, cognitive interviews were performed with patients and their caregivers at the bedside of the receiving hospital. A standard set of questions was used to assess multiple aspects of the interfacility transfer process including the consent process at the sending hospital, experience with the transfer, and perceived benefits/harms resulting from the transfer.
21 patients and 14 caregivers were interviewed in this study and five themes were present throughout these conversations. These themes included, a perceived lack of participation in the decision to be transferred, failed expectations at the receiving hospital, and greater trust in trauma centers like Methodist Hospital.
Our interviews demonstrate a greater need for thorough consent for transfer at sending hospitals discussing the realistic outcomes and risks that can be expected from interfacility transfer. With these conversations patients and their caregivers can be empowered to make informed decisions about their care and will likely be more satisfied with the care that they receive and know what to expect during their treatment.
Copyright (c) 2023 Dillon Bille, Nancy Glober, MD
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