Safety Considerations During Transitions of Care From Inpatient to Outpatient Settings

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Hospital admissions are times of intense change. New medications are started, treatment regimens are modified, and care plans that will continue in the outpatient setting are initiated. After discharge, most patients receive care from different providers than those seen in the hospital. This situation will increase as inpatient-based practice patterns, such as neurohospitalist practices, become more prevalent. Communication failures during the transition from hospital to clinic increase the risk of adverse events. Providers must realize that successful transition can impact the patient’s health as significantly as treatment of the admitting diagnosis. The transition should be carefully planned and standardized. This article discusses common pitfalls encountered during the transition period and highlights methods to improve patient care and safety.

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