A new Issue Brief entitled, Family Caregiving and Transitional Care: A Critical Review has been published by the National Center on Caregiving, Family Caregiver Alliance. The paper looks at the five models of hospital to home transitional care programs currently being replicated across the country and how those programs involve family caregivers as partners in care. Two models of physician practice-based transitional care programs were also examined.
Some key findings are: family caregivers receive inadequate support during transition between setting and little research has been conducted on how family caregivers perceive their own roles and needs during transitions. Second, involvement of family caregivers can improve patient outcomes and continuity of care but families should not be expected to provide complex medical care in the home, especially without training or in-home support from professionals. And last, there needs to be a greater focus on long-term services and supports as part of any transitional care program.
While health professionals are increasingly recognizing the need to work with family caregivers, we must align both the financing for these efforts, and also the training and practice guidelines to involve family caregivers as part of the care team.