Understanding transitional care provided to older adults with and without dementia: A mixed methods study

Beth Prusaczyk, Vanessa Fabbre, Nancy Morrow-Howell, Enola Proctor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Introduction: There are numerous effective transitional care interventions yet they are not routinely implemented. Furthermore, few interventions exist for older adults with dementia. A first step in developing effective interventions for dementia patients and increasing intervention uptake for all patients is to understand the current delivery process of transitional care. Methods: A mixed methods study using an explanatory multiphase design was conducted. Guided by provider interviews, medical charts were reviewed to collect information on the day-to-day transitional care being delivered to older adults. Then providers were interviewed again to assess the accuracy of those results and provide context. Results: The medical charts of 210 older adults (126 with dementia and 84 without) were reviewed and nine providers representing various professional roles including social work, nursing, and case management were interviewed. Social workers and case managers were primarily involved in discharge planning, communicating with providers outside the hospital, advanced care planning, providing social and community supports, and making follow-up appointments. Registered nurses were the primary providers of patient education and medication safety while physicians were primarily involved in ensuring that necessary information was available in the discharge summary and that it was available in the chart. Discussion: This study found distinct patterns in the delivery of transitional care, including the unique roles nursing, social work, and case management have in the process. Furthermore, these patterns were found to differ between patients with and without dementia. These findings are both consistent and inconsistent with the existing literature on transitional care interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-23
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Care Coordination
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • Transitional care
  • case management
  • dementia
  • nursing
  • professional role
  • social work


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