This study evaluated the effectiveness of a national transitional care program for elderly adults with complex care needs and limited social support. The Aged Care Transition (ACTION) Program was designed to improve coordination and continuity of care and reduce rehospitalizations and visits to emergency departments (EDs). Dedicated care coordinators provided coaching to help individuals and families understand the individuals' conditions, effectively articulate their preferences, and enable self-management and care planning. Participants were individuals aged 65 and older hospitalized and enrolled from five public general hospitals in Singapore between February 2009 and July 2010 (N = 4,132). The coordinators worked with participants during hospitalization and followed up with telephone calls and home visits for 1 to 2 months after discharge and coordinated placements with appropriate community service providers. Unplanned rehospitalization and ED visit (up to 6 months after discharge) rates were compared with those of a comparator group of individuals who did not receive care coordination using propensity score-based weighting. Participant and caregiver surveys on quality of life and self-rated health were also administered. Recipients of the ACTION program had fewer unplanned rehospitalizations and ED visits after discharge. Propensity score-adjusted odds ratios of participants versus control for number of unplanned rehospitalization and ED visits were 0.5 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.5-0.6) and 0.81 (95% CI = 0.72-0.90) 30 days after discharge and 0.6 (95% CI = 0.6-0.7) and 0.90 (95% CI = 0.82-0.99) 180 days after discharge. Quality of life and self-rated health were better 4 to 6 weeks after discharge than 1 week after discharge. These findings confirm the effectiveness of the ACTION program in improving the transition of vulnerable older adults from hospital to community. Such transitional care should be considered as an integral part of care integration.
Keywords: Singapore; care coordination; rehospitalizations.
© 2014, Copyright the Authors Journal compilation © 2014, The American Geriatrics Society.