As a health care professional you meet family caregivers in your daily practice, whether at the clinic, hospital, rehab unit in a nursing home, or in the caregiver’s or patient’s home. Family caregivers are an essential part of the health care system and in fact they help sustain that system. 1 in 5 adults in the US provides health care and other kinds of assistance to another family member, partner, friend or neighbor. You often rely on family caregivers to coordinate and provide essential care for your patients. Yet, family caregivers are rarely trained before assuming that responsibility. Family caregivers need your recognition, training, and support.
Next Step in Care was created to help you and family caregivers work better together. This is especially important at times of transitions, when patients move from one health care setting to another. Smoother transitions can mean fewer medication and other errors and better patient outcomes. To assist in this process the United Hospital Fund wrote and tested essential tools that can improve the transition experience for health care providers, patients and their family caregivers. These tools will assist in stimulating a discussion of critical aspects of care such as medication management, discharge planning and preparing for the next level of care.