Coalition takes on transition-of-care gaps

The National Transitions of Care Coalition (NTOCC), a coalition of 27 multidisciplinary stakeholders led by the Case Management Society of America (CMSA), has drafted a policy statement setting out problems stemming from transitions of care and outlining recommendations that can be taken by the health care industry and policy makers to improve transitions and patient care across the continuum.

"The development of these critically needed tools represents an important step in solving transitional problems," says Cheri Lattimer, RN, BSN, CMSA executive director.

Transitions of care include situations in which a patient moves from primary care to specialty physicians or moves within the hospital, including moves from the emergency department to other departments, such as surgery or intensive care; or when a patient is discharged from the hospital and goes home or to an assisted living or skilled nursing facility. Patients, especially older ones, face significant challenges when moving from one level of care or practice setting to another. During these transitions, lack of communication can result in redundant or conflicting information that can create serious issues for patients, their caregivers, and their families.

CMSA and Sanofi-Aventis established the NTOCC in 2006 to address gaps in care that occur when patients, especially frail elderly patients, move from one care setting to another.