Empowering Health Care Consumers


United Hospital Fund

Funding Area

Empowering Health Care Consumers


November 15, 2018

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Each year, approximately 1 in 5 hospital patients in the United States, including some 300,000 New Yorkers, require continued care following hospital stays for major surgery or serious illness. Yet too often, patients and their families do not have the critical information and support they need to carefully assess their options and make the best possible decisions.

A new report by the United Hospital Fund (UHF), supported by NYSHealth, spotlights the many factors that can hinder informed decision-making and limit care choices. UHF conducted a year-long inquiry to better understand why hospital discharge planning can fall short despite well-intentioned efforts by hospital staff. There are many factors that can hinder informed decision-making, including lack of awareness by patients and family caregivers that quality of care varies or reluctance by discharge planners to offer direct advice because of concerns about complying with federal regulations. Information on post-acute care that is available online can also be difficult for patients and their families to navigate.

The report combines UHF’s research with input from patients and their families, health care providers, researchers, policymakers, and other stakeholders to identify promising approaches for supporting decision-making at discharge. It is the first in a series of reports by UHF that takes a broad look at the many factors, including regulation, that make informed decision-making about post-acute care so challenging.