Barriers in Transitioning Patients With Severe Obesity From Hospitals to Nursing Homes

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Abstract

This cross-sectional, descriptive study explored perspectives of discharge planners regarding transitions of hospitalized patients who are severely obese seeking discharge to a nursing home. Attention has been focused on care transitions regarding high hospital readmission rates, yet specific needs of patients who are severely obese have been largely overlooked. Ninety-seven (response rate 39.8%) discharge planners returned surveys addressing frequency of, and issues encountered when, arranging placements. Community and hospital characteristics were also collected. One third of the respondents from Pennsylvania and Arkansas reported inability to transfer patients; barriers included reimbursement, staffing, and equipment. Respondents perceiving nursing homes to have equipment concerns were nearly 7 times more likely to report patient size as a barrier (p = .001). Given increasing obesity rates, health care delivery systems must be prepared to provide necessary resources and all levels of care, including transitions for hospitalized patients who are severely obese needing nursing home care post-discharge.

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