Transition from inpatient services back to home is a very challenging time. Our inpatient units are an extremely supportive environment. Often patients are returning to an environment that contributed to the unbearable distress that led to them seeking hospitalization.
Research shows that having a check-in appointment within seven days of discharge better supports a patient’s transition and prevents the need for readmission. However, some patients find it difficult to make it to this appointment.
In 2018, Pine Rest started a pilot project with Priority Health to conduct the follow-up via Telehealth Services technology. A 30-minute telehealth session set-up by the case manager prior to discharge, the appointment is a supportive session to improve communications with patients and help them connect with the necessary resources and level of care they need.
“Conducting the follow up visit via telehealth removes many barriers for the patient,” says Nicole Gilbertson, PsyD, from Christian Counseling Center who is also a provider of Telehealth Services. “Patients don’t have the hassle of driving to an appointment, setting up childcare, missing more work, etc.”
“The sessions have helped parents of children who were hospitalized to feel more confident and comfortable. At least two of the adults I’ve visited with would probably have ended up back in the hospital if they hadn’t had this visit to help them develop a plan to address worsening symptoms.”
Another benefit for patients; Priority Health waived the copay for the follow-up appointment.
“I have received great feedback from clients thanking me for reaching out, for being there to offer additional support, to answer questions they had, and for just listening. What an honor to join with someone on their journey to healing even for just a short visit.”
–Nicole Gilbertson, PsyD, Christian Counseling Center
This article first appeared in the Pine Rest 2018 Annual Report.