Care Transitions: A Contrast in Perspectives


I love to travel. In fact, that’s one of the biggest questions I get when I talk to friends during this pandemic. One friend who I hadn’t talked to live in several weeks asked, “How are you and your family doing? I know how much you love to travel and now…” her voice trailed off. Well the truth is I’m doing fine!

Surprisingly, I’m simply fine with being in quarantine. The word “homebody” was not in my vocabulary for the first 44.5 years of my life. But now, in the last 6 weeks before my 45th birthday, I have so fully embraced this that I have surprised even myself. So much so that now I have to say “I love travel… or at least I did before Coronavirus. We will see if I still want to and what that looks like in the next few years.”

What does this have to do with care transitions? Stay with me!

Last weekend I was supposed to be up in wine country in Northern California in Dry Creek Valley. To get there we fly into SFO and then must cross the Golden Gate Bridge. You may not know this about me, but I’m afraid of heights, however I can tolerate the Golden Gate Bridge. (My husband usually is the one driving and he typically helps me out and drives in the middle lane!)

Now let’s look at the bridge pictured above…would you walk across this one? Ummm that’s a definite no for me! That water looks to be a small creek only a few feet below but I wouldn’t walk across that at all.

So, why am I talking about bridges? Well, because it’s a great contrasting metaphor between various perspectives. Often, we in the facility or the sending part of the care transition feel like there’s a solid plan. We do this ump-teen times a week with patients and it’s just no big deal. So, to us, it looks like the Golden Gate Bridge. But to patients and families who haven’t dealt with this before, don’t complete understand, are anxious, in pain and of whom this is all new, it looks a lot more like this old rickety bridge.

I love this metaphor because it shows how great that contrast can be and how much we have to be mindful of this when we’re working with patients and families.

I realized in writing this that my feelings about travel and how my life has changed during this pandemic have given me more empathy to families and patients navigating care transitions. For many patients and families, an unforeseen health crisis that upends their lives, forever changes their routines and how they live moving forward, is a global crisis to them. It changes everything in their world as they know it.

To learn more about this topic, I’d invite you to join me on Thursday May 14th at 12:00 p.m. CST for The Impact of Communication in Care Transitions. I’ll be the guest on a webinar hosted by a dear friend, Cindy Carson, Director of Business Development and Partnerships @ The Wellness Network. On this webinar I’ll be discussing the importance of good communications, patient information and education, and streamlining your processes for effective care transitions and better patient outcomes.

To register, click here and we hope you will join us!

Janiece Gray

I began my career as a social worker and later, with my Master of Health Administration (MHA), directed operations at Allina Health in Minnesota. I later directed patient experience at Allina. My background and experience give me strengths in approaching healthcare opportunities and challenges through a systems lens – with unique strengths, challenges and activation points. My experience is also informed by leadership roles leading performance improvement in patient-centered care and patient experience departments. Working in the client role with healthcare consulting firms inspired me to address some unmet needs in the industry, and to co-found DTA Healthcare Solutions. I have a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, and find that the discipline of practice translates to healthcare work very well.

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