ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
Cranberries May Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Body Fat, Muscle Distribution Linked to RA Disability
Varicose, Spider Veins May Be Inevitable for Some
Brazilian Mint Tea Naturally Good for Pain Relief
CANCER
Study Cites Gains in Gall Bladder Cancer Treatment
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
Herb May Counter Liver Damage From Chemo
CAREGIVING
UV Lights, Fans May Curb TB Spread in Hospitals
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
Omega-3 Fatty Acid May Help 'Preemie' Girls' Brains
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
DIABETES
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Exercise Protects Black Women From Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Smog Standards Need Tightening, Activists Say
Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
Cats Can Trigger Eczema in Some Infants
EYE CARE, VISION
Diabetic Hispanics Missing Out on Eye Exams
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
Green Tea May Ward Off Eye Disease
FITNESS
Exercise Keeps the Brain Young
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Want Sun Protection? Wear Red or Blue
It Pays to Eat Less as You Age
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
Music May Temper Pain in Preemies
MEN'S HEALTH
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
SENIORS
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Simple Carbs Pose Heart Risk for Women
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Add your Article

Transition From Home to Hospital Rarely Seamless

TUESDAY, April 21 (HealthDay News) -- In an ideal world, your primary-care physician would be the one who directed your health care whether you were home or in the hospital, enhancing your comfort level.

But, in reality, that type of seamless care is on the decline -- at least for older Americans.

A new study found that among Medicare patients, continuity of care was lacking, with only about one-third of those hospitalized seen by their own physician while they were in the hospital.

"Patients should know that it is very unlikely that you will be taken care of by your outpatient physician during a hospitalization," said the study's lead author, Dr. Gulshan Sharma, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

According to the study, published in the April 22/29 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, continuity of care is comprised of three components:

* Continuity in information.
* Continuity in health-care management.
* Continuity in the physician-patient relationship.

These factors could be especially important for older patients who may have more chronic illness and may need a higher level of medical management and shared decision-making, according to the study.

"For patients, particularly geriatric patients with complex medical needs, continuity of care is probably ideal," said Dr. Laurie Jacobs, director of the Resnick Gerontology Center at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. "Given a choice, anyone would want someone they know, someone they trust and someone they've communicated with in the past. But it's not always medically necessary, even though it might be ideal."

Jacobs added that this kind of continuity of care isn't always possible in the current health-care setting. "From the physician and the health-system perspective, it's difficult to practice in an ideal fashion," she noted. She said fewer doctors are choosing to go into primary care and that reimbursement issues often limit physicians. Also, many medical centers have moved to a "hospitalist" model, where a doctor on staff at the hospital is in charge of a patient's care.

For the new study, Sharma and his colleagues reviewed a national sample of Medicare claims that included more than 3 million hospital admissions from 1996 through 2006. All of the participants were older than 66 years.

In 1996, the researchers found, 50.5 percent of people hospitalized were seen by at least one physician they had seen as an outpatient. By 2006, that number had dropped to 39.8 percent.

They also found that 44.3 percent of people who said they had a primary-care physician were seen by that doctor in a hospital in 1996. Ten years later, that percentage was down to 31.9 percent. People living in large metropolitan areas and those being seen in large teaching hospitals were the least likely to be seen by their primary care physician, according to the study.

Although people may assume their regular physician and the hospital doctors are in communication, Sharma said that's often not the case. "Post-discharge communication is very poor. It only occurs about 20 percent of the time," he said.

Both Sharma and Jacobs said the health-care system is shifting to the hospitalist model, and that electronic medical records would go a long way toward bridging the communication gap between outpatient and inpatient care.

-Serena Gordon

More information

For more on hospital care, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.



SOURCES: Gulshan Sharma, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston; Laurie G. Jacobs, M.D., professor of clinical medicine, and division head, geriatrics, and director, Resnick Gerontology Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; April 22/29, 2009, Journal of the American Medical Association

Last Updated: April 21, 2009

Copyright 2009 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

more articles at www.eholistic.com