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Open Access 09-05-2024 | Original Research: Qualitative Research

How Social Connectedness Helps Patients Stay Home After Hospital at Home Enrollment: A Mixed Methods Study

Authors: Christy J. W. Ledford, PhD, FACH, Lauren A. Cafferty, MA, Eunice Lee, BS, Hailie C. Hayes, BS, Destine C. Ede, BS, Brandon P. Hodges, BS, BSEd, Grant C. Whitebloom, BS, David W. Walsh, MD, Thad Wilkins, MD, MBA

Published in: Journal of General Internal Medicine

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Abstract

Background

While enrolled in Hospital at Home (HaH) programs, patients rely on their social network to provide supportive behaviors that are routinely provided by hospital staff in the inpatient setting.

Objective

This study investigated how social connectedness is associated with patient outcomes in a HaH program.

Design

The explanatory iterative sequential mixed methods design included an electronic health record review to collect quantitative measures to describe the severity of patient illness and healthcare utilization and then qualitative interviews to explain quantitative findings.

Participants

The quantitative phase included 100 patients (18 years or older) admitted to the hospital who were subsequently enrolled in the HaH program. In the qualitative phase, 33 of the 100 patients participated in semi-structured interviews.

Analysis

Qualitative data was analyzed using the Sort & Sift, Think & Shift method. Integrated analysis included merged data displays of healthcare utilization data and patient descriptions of their care and genogram-type illustrations to enable variable-oriented analysis of structural support. We then examined patient narratives by two variables: life course and care elevation, to understand differences in the trajectories of six subsets of patients as identified by the quantitative data.

Key Results

Three factors prompted patients to enroll in HaH: low attention from hospital staff during hospital stay; loneliness and isolation during hospital stay; and family encouragement to enroll. After discharge, social support within the home structure facilitated recovery during HaH. Conversely, HaH patients with limited support within the home were more likely to be readmitted.

Conclusions

Structural social connectedness facilitates patient recovery in HaH. Before enrolling patients in HaH, clinicians should take an in-depth social history, including questions about social/familial roles, household responsibilities, and technology acceptance. Clinicians should engage formal and informal caregivers in these conversations early and communicate a clear picture of what caregivers should do to support the patient through recovery.
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Metadata
Title
How Social Connectedness Helps Patients Stay Home After Hospital at Home Enrollment: A Mixed Methods Study
Authors
Christy J. W. Ledford, PhD, FACH
Lauren A. Cafferty, MA
Eunice Lee, BS
Hailie C. Hayes, BS
Destine C. Ede, BS
Brandon P. Hodges, BS, BSEd
Grant C. Whitebloom, BS
David W. Walsh, MD
Thad Wilkins, MD, MBA
Publication date
09-05-2024
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Published in
Journal of General Internal Medicine
Print ISSN: 0884-8734
Electronic ISSN: 1525-1497
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-024-08785-9
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