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  1. Kelly, Margaret M. BSN, RN
  2. Penney, Erika D. MSN, RN, CPNP, CCM


Purpose/Objectives: Hospital case managers frequently collaborate with home care liaisons when coordinating special discharge plans. This article focuses on the collaborative relationship between the hospital case manager and on-site liaison whose primary role centers around care coordination and patient teaching. Ineffective collaboration between hospital case managers and these clinical on-site liaisons can lead to serious lapses in care and services for patients, families, and the health care team when transitioning from hospital to home care. In a review of literature, little detail was found about the collaborative practice between hospital case managers and home care liaisons. This article discusses how collegiality, collaboration, and role clarification between hospital case managers and on-site home care liaisons can improve coordination of care and services for patients and their families in the transition from hospital to home care. Included is a set of guidelines developed by case managers at a major metropolitan acute care hospital to inform and improve their practice with home care liaisons.


Primary Practice Setting: The authors are nursing case managers who practice in a major metropolitan teaching hospital. They met by telephone and in person with case managers from 3 metropolitan medical centers as well as on-site liaisons from 2 skilled nursing facilities and 5 home care agencies to develop practice recommendations for their department regarding work with home care liaisons.


Findings/Conclusions: Conversations between hospital case managers and on-site home care liaisons revealed that all had experiences in which suboptimal collaboration negatively impacted home care coordination for patients and their families. Furthermore, outcomes in similar patient scenarios varied widely based on the individual practices of the case managers and liaisons involved in discharge coordination. Multiple issues were discussed, including blurred role and responsibility delineations, variations in communication styles and practices, and different levels of experience and training. Consensus regarding the implementation of the hospital's guidelines was achieved through a series of discussions within the workgroup in developing practice guidelines. Multiple revisions and secondary reviews by colleagues and directors took place before the guidelines were accepted and implemented.


Implications for Case Management Practice: Recommendations for improving collaboration with liaisons included (1) taking time to become familiar with one another's practices and backgrounds; (2) ensuring clear discussions of roles, responsibilities, and expectations with liaisons related to individual cases and organizational requirements and limitations; (3) providing time and forums for ongoing communication and follow-up; and (4) recognizing that responsibility for certain aspects of the discharge planning process may be shared but that the case manager, in partnership with the multidisciplinary team, is ultimately accountable for the effectiveness and outcomes of the discharge plan.