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If coordination fails
Date:10/20/2011

of hospitals, re-hospitalization, dissatisfaction among patients and inadequate follow-up and thus inadequate care states Kristin Laugaland.

- A growing body of evidence suggests that the elderly population is particularly vulnerable to experiencing discontinuity in care with the potential of adverse outcomes due to poorly executed transition. International research indicates that the risk of adverse events and medical errors is significant in the interface between GPs, care givers and hospitals. The severity of the adverse events can vary from laboratory abnormalities to permanent disability and in worst case death says Laugaland.

The major contributing risk factors are inadequate communication and documentation. When communication breaks down patients are at risk due to the fact that vital information such as diagnostic finding, test-results pending and follow-up care is not always shared adequately between physicians and nurses across primary and secondary health and care services.

- According to a Norwegian research study both referral and discharge summaries, i.e. the overall presentation of a patient's medical history, can be deficient to the degree that it might represent a health hazard for older patients, Laugaland says.

Older patients often hold a compound treatment picture characterized by complexity followed by complex medical regimen. Failures in transferring adequate medical information may lead to adverse drug events and medical discrepancies with the potential to cause harm. In addition to the risk of misinterpreting dosages, health care personnel do not always receive information about the time period patients should stay on particular medical treatments.

- Patients who have taken tests like X-ray, digital scans and blood samples, can be discharged with test results pending. Potentially actionable test results may be overlooked if information transfer is insufficient from the inpatient physician to the
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Contact: Kristin Laugaland
kristin.a.laugaland@uis.no
0047-518-31000
University of Stavanger
Source:Eurekalert

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