Hospitals traditionally have viewed a patient's discharge as the endpoint of their care responsibilities. Little attention was paid to the next steps in treatment once the patient left the building. Movie scenes showing miraculously cured patients waving cheerful good-byes to their hospital caretakers are, however, a Hollywood invention.
In reality, hospital stays frequently are just one step in ongoing episodes of care. Ensuring a smooth transition from acute to post-acute and long-term care settings is critical to achieving optimal health outcomes, as well as preventing unnecessary hospital readmissions and emergency department visits.