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Hospital Discharge and Selecting a Skilled Nursing Facility: A Comparison of Experiences and Perspectives of Patients and Their Families

Sorkin, Dara, H., PhD; Amin, Alpesh, MD; Weimer, David, L., PhD; Sharit, Joseph, PhD; Ladd, Heather, MS; Mukamel, Dana, B., PhD

doi: 10.1097/NCM.0000000000000252

Purpose of Study: A currently proposed rule by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would require providers to devote more resources to discharge planning from hospitals to ensure the prioritization of patient preferences and goals in the discharge planning process. Annually, more than 3 million persons enter a nursing home in the United States, with the vast majority of patients coming directly from hospitals. Although early evidence suggests more family involvement than patient involvement in the discharge process, most of this work has relied on retrospective reports of the decision-making process postplacement. This article seeks to examine and compare the experiences and perspectives of patients and others involved in the selection of the nursing home (predominately adult children and spouses).

Primary Practice Setting: Large academic medical hospital with patients being discharged to a skilled nursing facility.

Methodology and Sample: A total of 225 patients or their family members and involved others who completed an exit survey assessing their experiences and perspectives in selecting a skilled nursing home and in experiencing the discharge process more generally.

Results: Patients were the primary decision makers about 23% of the time but were often involved in the decision even when family members/involved others were primarily making decisions in the discharge process. Although patients were involved in the selection of the nursing home to a lesser degree than involved others, their level of satisfaction with the decision to be discharged to a skilled nursing home and their level of satisfaction with their personal level of involvement with the selection of the specific nursing home did not differ from the satisfaction ratings of the involved others. Furthermore, their confidence in the decision and their satisfaction with the decision did not differ from ratings provided by family members/involved others.

Implications for Case Management Practice: Recommendations for case management practice include (1) encouraging patients and their families to take an active role in the discharge process; (2) incorporating technology into the discharge process that promotes this active level of engagement; and (3) facilitating access to data to promote discharge to the highest quality nursing homes available.

Dara H. Sorkin, PhD, is Associate Professor, School of Medicine, University of California, Irvine.

Alpesh Amin, MD, is Thomas & Mary Cesario Chair of Medicine, Professor & Executive Director, Hospitalist Program, Department of Medicine, University of California, Irvine.

David L. Weimer, PhD, is Professor, Lafollette School of Public Affairs, University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Joseph Sharit, PhD, is Research Professor, Center on Aging, Mental Health Hospital Center, University of Miami, Miami, FL.

Heather Ladd, MS, is senior Statistician in the Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of California, Irvine.

Dana B. Mukamel, PhD, is Professor of Medicine, Public Health and Nursing, Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of California, Irvine.

Address correspondence to Dara H. Sorkin, PhD, University of California, Irvine, 100 Theory, Ste 120, Irvine, CA 92697 (

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

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