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Research Article Open Access
Introduction: OPTIMA is a multi-professional quality management and research project, conducted at the Cantonal Hospital of Aarau (KSA), Switzerland in cooperation with post-acute care institutions from November 2009 until December 2012.
Objective: The goal of this study was to optimize patient care pathways and to provide patient-centered, costeffective care that is conform with the introduction of the Diagnosis Related Groups (DRG) in 2012.
Methods: The “Post-Acute Care Discharge Scores” (PACD) was applied to assess the risk for transfer to postacute care facilities in 240 patients suffering from lower respiratory tract infections during the first phase of the study (OPTIMA I) from October 2009 until April 2010. In order to assess the patients’ self-care ability, the “Self-Care Index” (SPI) tool was applied on admission and during the course of inpatient treatment.
Results: The PACD predicted that 55% of patients (N=202) were at medium to high risk of requiring post-acute care. According to the SPI, 38% of patients (N=217) showed reduced ability to care for themselves. The discharge of 69% of medically stable patients (N=43) was postponed due to shortage of beds in post-acute care facilities. Correspondingly, 62% of the medically stable patients (N=141) could imagine receiving post-acute care in a “Nurseled Unit” (NLU). Despite being medically stable, one third of the patients (N=124) was not ready to return to their homes because they felt too weak or insecure to cope with everyday life.
Conclusion: Using standardized tools to predict patients at risk for transfer to post-acute care facilities and reduced self-care abilities and the continuous evaluation of medical stability are all methods that could be applied to enhance interdisciplinary care and optimize discharge management. Furthermore, setting up NLU is expected to unburden the occupancy of acute care beds by a considerable amount of patients who are in need of post-acute care.
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Author(s): Antoinette Conca*, Rita Bossart, Katharina Regez, Ursula Schild, Gabriela Wallimann, Ruth Schweingruber, Virpi Hantikainen, Petra Tobias, Werner Albrich, Kristina Rüegger, Frank Dusemund, Ulrich Bürgi, Thomas Sigrist, Stefan Mariacher-Gehler, Andreas Huber, Philipp Schütz1, Beat Müller and Barbara Reutlinger